14 Fabia Super 2000s to start the Barum Rally

ŠKODA Motorsport to run both its factory crewsCrowds expected to top a quarter of a millionEvent runs from 26-28 August

No fewer than 14 Fabia S2000s will line up at the start of the Czech Barum Rally Zlin – round seven of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. ŠKODA’s home event is one of the best supported in the championship, with over 250,000 expected to flock to the stages to watch the action unfold.

The event is also a round of the European Rally Championship and the International Czech Republic Championship – both high profile series that have helped attracted a full and varied field of competitors.

ŠKODA Motorsport will be favourites to take overall victory, with 2009 winner Jan Kopecký and current IRC championship leader Juho Hänninen both in excellent form.

Commenting on the unique challenge of competing on his home event, Jan said: We’re looking forward to it very much. We were the fastest crew here in the last two years and we expect strong support from our great fans. But we know we will be under pressure, because we are expected to succeed here.”

Hoping to build on his IRC series lead Juho Hänninen added: “We have been doing well at the Barum Rally over the past few years, and we want to continue this trend. This is a difficult rally with many tricky places and one of the climaxes of the season, one of the reasons being the great fans here”.

Competing alongside the factory entries will be a further 12 Fabia S2000s. Among them will be last year’s winner, Freddy Loix in a ŠKODA Belgium car, along with ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian will be hoping to continue his sparkling form following his second place finish on the Azores Rally.

Also lining up for the start will be Zlin native and multiple Czech Republic champion Roman Kresta in a privately-entered S2000, along with ŠKODA Germany's Mark Wallenwein and Matthias Kahle. Toni Gardemeister – another driver with strong ŠKODA connections – is also set to thrill spectators in his Fabia S2000.

The Barum Czech Rally Zlin starts on Friday 26 August and finishes on Sunday afternoon. It consists of 15 special stages totalling 155 competitive miles. Full coverage will be available on Eurosport.