Didier Auriol is Škoda Motorsport's lone Rally GB survivor
Second points finish for Škoda Fabia WRC
30 years of the World Rally Championship comes to an end
The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team completed Rally GB with Didier Auriol finishing 11th in Wales to score the second set of Manufacturers' points for the Fabia WRC. Toni Gardemeister slid into a ditch on today's opening stage and was unable to regain the track, thereby missing the chance to score additional points.
After gaining two days of experience, factory supported Czech driver Jan Kopecky retired his Octavia WRC shortly after he left Cardiff today following alternator failure last night.
Didier said: "When I saw Toni off the road I backed off completely to make sure that I scored two points for the team. It had rained last night and the roads were quite slippery so there was no need to take chances. It has been a difficult event as usual so I'm happy to be at the finish."
Director of Škoda Motorsport Petr Kohoutek said: "This has been an important year for Škoda Motorsport. We introduced our new car that contains the very latest technology and set about developing it in public which is always a big risk. Some things have worked well and others not so well but these are all important lessons. Next season we must take the information we now have and develop the car further so that we can have the best opportunity to achieve our aim of being fully competitive in time for the 2005 championship."
Rally GB brings to an end 30 years of the World Rally Championship and with it an unbroken run of appearances on the British event by Škoda Motorsport. The Czech manufacturer has been represented on every Rally GB since the championship began in 1973, either by a full works entry or through works supported dealer teams.
Highlights of Škoda Motorsport's participation on this event include a run of 24 class victories from its first 25 appearances. Among the team's most memorable results are the famous third place overall for rally legend Stig Blomqvist on the icy non-championship event in 1996 and fourth overall for Bruno Thiry with the Octavia WRC in 1999. It was on this event in 1994 that Škoda Motorsport confirmed its position as FIA 2-litre Champions.
The 2003 WRC titles were won by Petter Solberg (Drivers') and Citroen (Manufacturers'). Škoda Motorsport finished fifth manufacturer with Toni Gardemeister 12th and Didier Auriol 13th in the Drivers' Championship.