PRESTON NETS SKODA FABIA R5
Pendle driver will compete on selected BRC events in 2016
Thomas Preston will be the latest driver to campaign a brand new Skoda Fabia R5 in the UK when his car is delivered in May.
The Lancashire driver has used a Ford Focus WRC01 since 2014 in selected events, but he feels now is the time to step up to current machinery after satisfying a childhood dream of driving a WRC car thanks to the Hippo Motor Group.
Preston will campaign the Fabia in the British Rally Championship and BTRDA rounds this year in a bit-part schedule, with the first event depending on when Preston receives the car. He’ll also start a test programme before the first event.
He said: “I got back into rallying properly about four years ago after buying a Mitsubishi Lancer E6.
“We finished third overall on the two-day national part of Rally GB then I moved up to a Lancer E9 and had some good results in that too. Since being a child I wanted to drive a WRC car and have now ticked that box but I feel that the way forward for me is an R5 car.”
When the Fabia arrives, it will be prepared by Martin Wilkinson’s CA1 Sport outfit, which is already running a Fabia for BRC challenger David Bogie. The Cumbrian firm has run Preston on events in his Focus previously.
“I have been friends with Martin for about 10 years now,” explained Preston. “When I bought the Focus he came on a couple of tests with me and has also looked after the car on a few events. The team has a great reputation and the service and support I receive from them is second to none.”
Of the BRC rounds, Preston has picked out Rally Isle of Man as a potential favourite: “All the rallies on the calendar look great but I am looking forward to the Isle of Man. I’ve only done the event once: the stages are brilliant.”
No Skoda Fabia R5 has competed in the BTRDA Series, while Neil Simpson and Bogie are set to compete in the BRC this year.