Reigning WRC 2 teams' champion Skoda is set to return to defend its world title in 2016 with a three-car line-up of its Fabia R5 machines.

Last year's factory drivers Pontus Tidemand and Esapekka Lappi will be retained for a full WRC 2 campaign which starts at Rally Sweden, with Jan Kopecky being handed entries for a number of rounds.

The Skoda Fabia R5 made an impressive debut in 2015 by claiming four wins in the WRC 2 category as well as a fourth consecutive Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and five national titles.

The only change of note in its driver line-up this year is the introduction of Mads Ostberg's former co-driver Jonas Andersson who kicks out Emil Axelsson to go alongside last year's WRC 2 Rally de Espana winner Tidemand.

Finish duo Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm reunite in the second works machine after finishing third in the WRC 2 drivers' championship last year with two rally victories in 2015.

"It goes without saying that we continued to work hard through the winter break with the team, and are looking forward to an eventful year of rallying in 2016," Michal Hrabanek, Skoda's motorsport director, said. "Our goal is to exceed last year's success in the WRC 2 with our three impressive drivers. We promise our fans that we will do everything in our power to continue ?koda Motorsport's successful run in 2016."

Kopeck? will also be in action at selected rounds in WRC 2, after winning in Germany last year.



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