BO­GIE SCORES SKODA FOR BRC

Scot chooses new Fabia for a full ti­tle at­tack

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon

For­mer BRC cham­pion David Bo­gie will join Martin Wilkinson’s CA1 Sport out­fit to pi­lot a Skoda Fabia R5 in the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship.

Bo­gie’s car choice has been sub­ject of ru­mour since his Ford Fi­esta R5 – pur­chased in 2014 – was put up for sale at the end of last year.

The 2011 BRC cham­pion will move to the Czech Re­pub­lic mar­que for a full cham­pi­onship cam­paign. “It’s been a long time com­ing to be hon­est, since we first met with Skoda in Oc­to­ber,” ex­plained Bo­gie, 28.

“I’ve known Martin at CA1 a long time and through his con­nec­tions and how we pro­moted our­selves to Skoda it did man­age to push us up the queue for the car. Skoda Mo­tor­sport is keen to have a car in the BRC go­ing for rally wins so it’s cer­tainly in its in­ter­ests as well. It re­alised I had a Fi­esta and, if it couldn’t of­fer me a good pack­age then that’s where I would be stay­ing.

“So Skoda made us an of­fer that was rea­son­able and it stuck by its word and came good with the car for the first rounds of the cham­pi­onship.”

Bo­gie will rally the car for the first time on the Red Kite Stages on Fe­bru­ary 21, and be­lieves that de­spite the com­pe­tency of the Pro-tec team, which had looked af­ter his cars pre­vi­ously, the time was right for a change.

“I had a good re­la­tion­ship with Pro-tec be­fore, with five Scot­tish ti­tles and a Bri­tish,” added Bo­gie. “I can’t fault Pro-tec at all, but Martin Wilkinson as­sisted me with get­ting the Skoda and, mov­ing for­ward the de­ci­sion was made and I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with him. He has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

With his plans shrouded in se­crecy, Bo­gie has gone un­der the radar when on­look­ers have been pick­ing out ti­tle favourites for this year’s BRC, but the Scot says that’s just how he likes it.

“Back in 2011, my­self and [co-driver] Kevin [Rae] were un­der­dogs go­ing into the cham­pi­onship and no­body was talk­ing about us and we man­aged to win the first round and it went from there,” said Bo­gie. “I al­ways like to go in as the un­der­dog. I never put my­self un­der pres­sure.”

The change of car comes as in­ter­est in the Ford Fi­esta R5 has picked up, mainly thanks to Elfyn Evans’s backto-back WRC2 wins with the new R5 Evo upgrade in Monte Carlo and Swe­den re­cently. The tweaks im­prove the power band of the M-sport­built ma­chine. How­ever, Bo­gie has seen enough to be­lieve that the Skoda Fabia is the way for­ward.

“My car re­quired an en­gine upgrade, so rather than do­ing the upgrade it made sense to me to go and get the Skoda,” said the Dum­fries driver.

Bo­gie said that with very lim­ited test­ing in the new car, he’s ex­pect­ing a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence over the open­ing rounds of the sea­son be­fore he gets fully up to speed.

“I’m sure the Skoda Fabia will be com­pet­i­tive and that’s what we need,” said Bo­gie. “All I do need to do is get into the hot seat, get test­ing, get the set-up right and then feel com­fort­able in the car.

“Un­for­tu­nately that might take one gravel round and one Tar­mac round, but I’m hop­ing to be able to adapt as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

DRIVER/CO-DRIVER

1 Jock Arm­strong/paula Swin­scoe 2 Mike Faulkner/peter Foy 3 John Mac­crone/rhi­anon Gel­somino 4 Don­nie Macdon­ald/an­drew Fal­coner 5 Shaun Sin­clair/stephen O’han­lon 6 Bruce Mccom­bie/michael Coutts 7 Barry Ground­wa­ter/neil Shanks 8 An­drew Gal­lacher/jane Ni­col 9 Mark Mccul­loch/michael Hendry 10 Garry Pear­son/rob­bie Mitchell

Skoda wanted Bo­gie in BRC (r) Bo­gie’s 2011 car (left) and new Skoda Wilkinson (r) backs Bo­gie

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