Skoda has revealed it will enter its new Fabia R 5 into three elite rally championships this year, competing in the WRC 2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Czech Rally Championship and the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Swedish driver Pontus Tidemand will race in the Asia Pacific series and will be joined by two rally champions in the shape of Jan Kopecky and Esapekka Lappi.

The all-new Skoda Fabia R 5 1.6 litre turbo was given official accreditation to race by the FIA on the 1st April and replaces the Super 2000 version.

Skoda's motorsport director Michal Hrabanek has given massive credit to the team's efforts which spanned 15 months and tackled the obstacles set by the FIA to move rally cars into the a new generation.

"We started active development in January 2014," Hrabanek said. "Every step in development, every test, every kilometre driven and every team member were extremely important to the success of the project.

"Together, we overcame all obstacles along the way. The greatest tension we felt was before the homologation. That was the moment of truth after many months of hard work. The FIA's green light has both delighted us and given us confidence."

The director also paid tribute to the team's test drivers, explaining how their feedback was invaluable to the technicians during the fine tuning process.

"Not everything can be measured by machines and computers, how the driver feels in the car is also important - particularly in rallying," he added. "This is why we used several experienced drivers in testing. Our engineers really benefitted from the comments made by our test drivers Jan Kopeck?, Esapekka Lappi, Freddy Loix, Pontus Tidemand and Raimund Baumschlager."



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