WRC

Rally Australia: Skoda preview

Rally Australia - Colin McRae returns to drive Fabia WRC 05 The Å koda Motorsport World Rally Team heads to Australia for the 16th and final round of the 2005 World Rally Championship (November 10-13) where the Fabia WRC 05 will be driven by the...

Rally Australia - Colin McRae returns to drive Fabia WRC 05

The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team heads to Australia for the 16th and final round of the 2005 World Rally Championship (November 10-13) where the Fabia WRC 05 will be driven by the regular crew of Armin Schwarz/Klaus Wicha alongside Britain's Colin McRae/Nicky Grist.

World Champion of 1995 Colin McRae readily agreed to drive the Fabia for the second time this season after a successful first time at the wheel on September's Rally GB.

The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team for Australia is therefore the most experienced partnership in the entry list with 262 WRC starts and 26 wins between them. Colin won the event twice, in 1994 and 1997, completed the event eighth times and has never finished outside the top six.

Rally Australia is characterised by fast gravel stages with a unique 'ball bearing' surface that is incredibly slippery in all conditions. The Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team's tyre partner, Michelin, will again be producing a special tyre to deal with a surface that greatly favours later runners.

Colin said: "Australia is a very difficult rally. It is high-speed and the trees are very close to the edge of the road. Combine that with the unique road surface and you end up with one of the toughest rallies of the year. It is also one of my favourites because it is well organised, has a great atmosphere and I've had some great results there. My start position should be perfect so I'm looking forward to the event."

Armin said: "Australia is a great country to visit. Everyone knows how hard the rally is and that is partly because of the surface but also because there is not the same natural rhythm to the stages that you find anywhere else. But it will definitely be a fun place to end the season."

Head of the Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team, Martin Muehlmeier, said: "This is a famously difficult event but in Colin and Armin we have the most experienced team possible. Hopefully we can finish the season with the result we deserve."

Team news:

Rally Australia will be the final event with Škoda Motorsport for chief engineer Dietmar Metrich. He has decided to reduce his workload and spend more time with his family. Dietmar joined the team in 1999 and was the first non-Czech employee. Dietmar said: "I want to thank all the team for the endeavour and support in the past seven years. I was a great challenge for me there is no day where I thought it was a wrong decision to join the team. I wish Škoda Motorsport all the best in the future and I am sure that there are good people who are able to further improve the car and continue with the project."

Škoda Auto has prepared a range of stylish clothing and accessories for fans of the Škoda Motorsport World Rally Team. The range includes T-shirts, polo shirts, formal shirts, fleece vests, sweaters, jackets, caps and rucksacks and is available from all authorised Škoda Auto dealerships.

Rally Australia in detail:

Rally Australia is based in the Western Australia city of Perth. Apart from the famously demanding forest stages, it is also the event that first made a success of running spectator superspecials and once again the spectacular head to head action will be a feature of the 2005 event.

Two runs over the Gloucester Park superspecial will kick-start the rally on Thursday evening before the real action continues in the forest on Friday. The opening leg features eight forest stages in the Murray Pines area before returning to Perth for two more runs at Gloucester Park (leg total 129.73kms).

Saturday's action takes place in the spectacular plantations around North Bannister with seven more stages (122.34kms) before another pair of superspecials. The North Bannister stages include the famous 'Bunnings' jumps.

Sunday's final leg includes six more stages (103.32kms) in the Helena region and after an overall total of 355.39kms the rally finishes in Perth at 1445 (0745 CET).

-skoda-

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Colin McRae , Armin Schwarz , Nicky Grist , Klaus Wicha