Jan Kopecky has given the new Skoda Fabia R5 the perfect start by taking a commanding win on its debut event.

Kopecky won 11 of the 12 stages of Rally Sumava Klatovy, the opening round in the 2015 Czech Rally Championship, eventually finishing 1 minute 34.6 seconds up on Bryan Bouffier's Citroen DS3 R5.

"The first start with the new Skoda Fabia R5 could not have gone better," said the 2013 ERC Champion and the 2014 Asia-Pacific Rally Champion. "We were obviously a bit tense as, after all the many tests, only an actual race would truly reveal how well the car was running. And it worked perfectly.

"We are very happy about the win and hope we were able to impress a lot of people with our new Fabia R5. We are already really looking forward to the next rallies now, as it seems to be a great car."

Skoda boss Michal Hrabanek added: "The rally debut of our new Skoda Fabia R5 symbolically launched a new chapter of our motorsport tradition in the home of the brand. As such, we are particularly delighted to have made such a successful start.

"We were very excited, and the debut showed that we are on the right track with the new rally car, although we do not want to read too much into the first result.

"The car and the team will have to come through some very different tests at the coming rallies."

Indeed the new Skoda Fabia R5 is due to make its debut in the WRC2 class of the World Rally Championship next month on Rally de Portugal, with 2014 ERC Champion Esapekka Lappi and new signing Pontus Tidemand slated to drive it.

"Running two cars will be another challenge with our new rally car," Hrabanek continued.

"Before then, we will continue testing. The win puts us in a good position going forward, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us."



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