Armin Schwarz is to return to the Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team after a two-year absence.

The 40-year old German driver has signed a two-year contract with the team and will partner Skoda Motorsport's Finnish regular, Toni Gardemeister. As usual Schwarz will be co-driven by Manfred Hiemer.

Schwarz last drove for Skoda Motorsport from 1999-2001, using his extensive testing ability to develop the Octavia WRC, Skoda Motorsport's first World Rally Car. During that time he finished fourth on the 2001 Monte Carlo Rally and famously led the Safari Rally later that same year before finishing the African event in third place.

The Skoda Motorsport World Rally Team will carry out a programme of selected WRC events in 2004 with the emphasis on development of the Fabia WRC. It is anticipated that the first appearance for Schwarz and Gardemeister will be the Acropolis Rally [June 4-6].

Schwarz replaces Didier Auriol, who left the team at the end of last year.

 

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