Three of the UK’s most promising young rally drivers enjoyed an exclusive test in an IRC championship-winning Škoda Fabia Super 2000 on the forest rally stage at Goodwood today (Monday 4th July).
Thanks to a tie up between the Motor Sports Association (MSA) and Škoda UK, Team UK drivers Elfyn Evans, Harry Hunt and John MacCrone were able to gain their first experiences of a Super 2000 rally car, as well as spending time with the team’s engineers and star driver Andreas Mikkelsen.
The young Brits clocked up more than 20 kilometers each on the dusty 1.1 mile stage at Goodwood, which had been sponsored by Škoda UK for the duration of this weekend’s Festival of Speed.
“It’s been an extremely valuable experience for the drivers and they have all got a huge amount out of it,” said Robert Reid, MSA Performance Director. “The guys have had the opportunity to see a leading team in action first hand, to drive the car, to speak with Andreas and the engineers, and to see how a manufacturer’s rallying programme forms part of their wider marketing and promotional activity.
“We must give great credit to Škoda UK for making this event possible; they are strong supporters of rallying in this country and perhaps they don’t get the recognition they deserve. We have been talking with them for some months about this kind of initiative as it works well for both sides. Our drivers get to experience a leading rally car and showcase their skills, while Škoda UK can look at promising young talent coming through the ranks and further underline their commitment to UK motor sport. It’s been a great success.”
Elfyn Evans said: “It was unbelievable! Compared to my Group N car, every input you make has an effect. It is so sharp and responsive, the way it stops and turns in and the feedback from the wheel is excellent. We then looked at the data from the car and compared my trace to see where I was losing or gaining time. That was really useful for me as we don’t have the capacity to undertake that kind of analysis on my car.”
Harry Hunt said: “The car was amazing. It’s very physical to drive and there’s no rest in there – it was pretty hard work. Even on the straights, the car was moving about and sliding on the gravel, so there’s no down time behind the wheel. I only have limited four wheel drive experience and learning the stage at the same time was a challenge, but the whole event has been a fantastic experience.”
John MacCrone said: “If this is what you get in the end, then all the hard work is worth it! The car is so nimble and it does everything you ask of it. You can steer it on the throttle and flick it one way and the other. The four wheel drive takes a bit of getting used to, but I was surprised how easy it was to get in the car and drive it reasonably quickly straight away.”
4 July 2011