Skoda will enter factory cars for both Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky at the Janner Rally in Austria this weekend, it has been announced.

While Skoda's priority this year remains the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the outfit is also going to appear in selected events in the European and Czech championships.

Taking place in the surroundings of the Austrian town of Freistadt, the opening event of the new season is part of the European Championship for the first time in history. Furthermore, besides being part of the Austrian Championship as usual, the Janner Rally is also part of the Czech Championship again, after a three-year break.

"The first event of the season is always rather special," said Kopecky, who begins 2012 with a new co-driver. "Pavel (Dresler) and I are looking forward to it - we have our first whole year together ahead of us.

"I have appeared three times in Janner, and I realise that a lot will depend on the track conditions."

"We are glad that it's all about to start again," added 2011 SWRC champion and 2010 IRC champion, Hanninen. "Janner will be a completely new experience, both the event itself and the whole European Championship. At the same time, it's a new challenge and we are not afraid of it.

"And it certainly would be even more interesting for all of us if there was some snow on the roads."



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