Skoda has announced it will begin work on the Fabia R5 next year, the successor to the Fabia S2000.

The Czech manufacturer currently plans to give the Fabia R5 its competitive debut in mid-2015.

"Through the many international successes it has enjoyed, the current Fabia Super 2000 has been demonstrating our technical prowess for years. The challenge is now to follow on from this success. That is why we are working flat out to develop a new racing car, based on the Skoda Fabia, for the R5 category," explained Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for technical development at Skoda.

Michal Hrabanek, Skoda's motorsport director added: "Entering the R5 class is a logical step for Skoda.

"The new [Fabia] R5 rally car will be equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine, in accordance with FIA regulations. That is a big change compared to today's naturally-aspirated, two-litre petrol engines.

"As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015."

In the meantime, Skoda will continue to compete with the Fabia S2000, with Esapekka Lappi tackling selected events in the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship. Sepp Wiegand will also run in the ERC under the 'Skoda Auto Deutschland' banner.

Jan Kopecky, who won the ERC title this season, will not defend his crown and will instead turn his attentions to the 2014 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Kopecky and Lappi, as well as Freddy Loix, are all expected - reports - to help with the development of the Fabia R5 during 2015.



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