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The new R5 rally cars: pressure level in the World Rally Championship

The new R5 rally cars
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E in Skoda Fabia Super 2000 is actually the best An investment that can be made as a private rally team. Almost a bargain compared to a World Rally Car, and can be used in almost every championship.

In addition, there is no more successful piece of sports equipment: Skoda won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), the European Championship and the Asia-Pacific Championship last year. Raimund Baumschlager's BRR team is one of the best addresses in the customer business. The Austrian has two Fabia Super 2000s in the hall and should be a happy man. Instead he says: “Basically, I should sell all of this now.”

Racing cars for the museum

Die Clock is running out. Probably a perfectly prepared S 2000 will only have museum value in a year. The reason is a new vehicle category called R5, whose regulations have been in force since January 1st. For years, the group classification R1 (1.4 liters), R2 (1.6 liters) and R3 (2.0 liters) has existed for the lower classes with improved front-wheel drives. Group R4 has been valid since 2010 for Group N all-wheel drive vehicles with two-liter turbo engines - a futile attempt by the FIA ​​to level the near-series Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza with larger air intake and less weight with the pure racing machines of the S 2000.

The two Japanese manufacturers made up the majority of the starting fields in their prime, today the wing-reinforced cult cars are a dying breed. Both manufacturers are slowly falling asleep with their rally activities and there is no new competition in sight.

Prices have risen significantly

But even with the S 2000, there is a lot of trouble, especially the costs. When it was launched in the middle of the last decade, the FIA ​​dreamed of prices around 200,000 euros. Those who want to be with the music today tend to transfer 320,000 euros - plus taxes. The last engine expansion stage for a Ford Fiesta alone costs 40,000 euros extra. While the all-wheel drive, technically significantly simplified with rigid through-drive, initially triggered so much euphoria that the FIA ​​even thought of replacing the World Rally Cars, which were also financially out of control, there were no more ten registered participants in the top championship in 2012, the SWRC.

So now R5. The bodies offerSimilar freedoms as a WRC are also almost as expensive, but the 1.6-liter engines are said to be up to 70 percent cheaper because pure racing engines are prohibited. Thanks to charging, they are still vastly superior to a two-liter vacuum cleaner in the S 2000 - more power, much more torque, better controllability, especially on slippery surfaces. The turbo with direct injection was the wish of the manufacturers, who are taking out the suction cups in series in series development.

This not least applies to groups R1 to R3. “If we wanted to build a Fabia R3, we would have to start with an ancient engine which is no longer sold ”, criticized Skoda sports director Michal Hrabanek. The Czech sits with his successful troops like his customers between tree and bark. His Fabia are also the measure of all things in the current season, but what comes next?

Peugeot already presented its R5 last September. The new 208 will be operational by the middle of the year. The Citroën DS3 will come later. In the past, the reigning brand world champions cared about customer sport, but since Citroën and PSA sister company Peugeot have been stuck in the sales crisis, the sports departments have had to transform themselves into profit centers.

Against the otherwise doggedly cultivated brand rivalry one tries to save costs and to use many identical parts for both R5. This also applies to human resources. The responsible Citroën designer Alex Avril has recently become the chief technology officer at Peugeot.

Financing the WRC works team with customer racing

M-Sport has to earn money. After losing the Ford works order, the Lake District team wants to keep their WRC works team alive, primarily with customer racing. In addition to sponsorship money, the backbone of the budget is the sale of high-priced four-wheel drive vehicles. The R5 Fiesta should be available from spring. Malcolm Wilson wants to take advantage and be the first to go on sale. The price he is aiming for is 240,000 pounds, which is the equivalent of 300,000 euros.

In addition, like Citroën, he is offering a downgraded WRC version for the European Championship and for the Arab sponsors with theirs under the name Regional Rally Car (RRC) Protegées Nasser al Attiyah (Qatar) and Khalid al Kassimi (Abu Dhabi) for the championship of the Middle East. RRC is not a term launched by the FIA. The cars are officially Super 2000 cars with 1.6 liter turbos. Thanks to sponsor Mentos and Russian Paydrivers, Prodrive is using two Mini Countrymans in 2013, which are simply disarmed WRCs with a smaller restrictor and smaller spoilers. There are a lot of them in circulation. And the same FIA, which only wanted to see expensive World Rally Cars in the World Championship, now allows them to start in all championships.

The RRC kill the S 2000

M-Sports technology boss Christian Loriaux himselfdeveloped the Ford kit and is worried: 'The RRC are killing the S 2000.' At up to 450,000 euros, these are only marginally cheaper than a WRC and don't have more power, but significantly more torque. Ironically, the former pharmacy Prodrive advertises with dumping prices. A Mini S 2000 is supposed to cost no more than a Skoda Fabia S 2000.

Michal Hrabanek waves it aside: “It also depends on how much support is included in the package.” Hrabanek would like an R5 to build. But he has to wait until at least 2014 when the new Fabia arrives. Until then, in the worst case scenario, Volkswagen could get in the way. In view of the parent company's entry into the WRC, their importers will be calling loudly for sports equipment based on polo for their national championships.

Raimund Baumschlager has a close relationship with Skoda and would like to continue working with Mlada Boleslav. With his Fabia he is leading the Austrian championship again. Until the R5 appear in ERC or WRC2 and are reliable, it could be enough for one or the other title. So far he hasn't sold a Fabia. Only an old Mitsubishi is offered on the BRR team's website.


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