Sainz ral­lies to the Skoda cause

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

FOR­MER world rally cham­pion Car­los Sainz has been called in to fast-track a Skoda push to win the World Rally Cham­pi­onship.

The Span­ish su­per­star has re­tired from sprint ral­lies but is now the leader of Volk­swa­gen’s rally raid team and was given per­mis­sion by his bosses to help with the latest rally con­tender from the VW Group.

Sainz jumped into the new Skoda Fabia car be­ing set for the Su­per 2000 world se­ries, and even­tu­ally a full-scale world ti­tle pro­gram, as it was moved up to the next level be­fore its com­pe­ti­tion de­but to­wards the end of the year.

‘‘I have got to know the Skoda Fabia re­ally well and I can see a huge step for­ward as far as the de­vel­op­ment of the com­pe­ti­tion ver­sion is con­cerned,’’ Sainz says.

He drove the Skoda in a tar­mac test in Aus­tria along­side the com­pany’s reg­u­lar test driv­ers, Jan Kopecky and Raimund Baum­schlager. Sainz has driven for Skoda be­fore, win­ning a rally in Spain last year, but has no plan to re­turn to the world cham­pi­onships.

The S2000 Skoda is also be­ing pre­pared for re­gional cham­pi­onships. Aus­tralia is a pos­si­ble starter once cars are avail­able next year.

Call up: Car­loz Sainz will get be­hind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia for rally ti­tle bid.

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