ŠKODA is reinforcing its portfolio of motorsport activities in the Asia-Pacific region. The newly formed ŠKODA-MRF team is to make its first appearance in the APRC this year with full-fledged factory support and two crews. ŠKODA’s factory crew Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN) and Gaurav Gill/Glen Macneall (India/New Zealand) will both start in ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. The APRC season starts with the Rally Whangarei in New Zealand on May 18-19.
In 2012 ŠKODA won both the Manufacturers and Drivers categories in its debut appearance in the APRC. Chris Atkinson & Stephane Prévot (Australia/Belgium) drove a private ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 owned by MRF team at that time. MRF is the abbreviation for the Indian-based tyre manufacturer Madras Rubber Factory. From now on they have full-fledged factory support with ŠKODA as a part of the team name.
“ŠKODA’s tradition of excellent and competent motorsport is more than 100 years old,” says ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland and goes on to say: “ŠKODA’s entry to the APRC is an important step in terms of the brand’s growth offensive in international markets. Asia is exactly the region where our ambition is to grow substantially in the coming years. Demonstrating local people’s enthusiasm about rallying, the APRC is one of the key motorsport competitions in this region, offering us a great opportunity to present our brand to a large audience”.
Commenting on the brand’s entry to the APRC, Head of ŠKODA Motorsport Michal Hrabánek says: “ŠKODA is growing worldwide and is experiencing one of the most dynamic periods of its long history. We are proud to see ŠKODA Motorsport contributing to this growth.”
Finnish factory driver Esapekka Lappi adds: “After our first successful appearances for ŠKODA Motorsport, we appreciate this chance to represent the brand also in the APRC. It is a great opportunity to show our competence”.
On hearing the Skoda announcement APRC president Steven Kennedy said “Official confirmation from Skoda that they will enter the 2013 Asia Pacific Rally is great news and to bring the current Finnish champion Esapekka Lappi into the team adds another international element to our championship. With the recent confirmation of European press agency Mediatica as an APRC official media partner, plus the new and exciting partnership with official supplier Würth, the APRC’s profile in Europe is going from strength to strength”