Skoda Fabia Super 2000 track test

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Skoda Fabia Super 2000 track test
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D asha died a short and gruesome death, and the daughter of the same name has seen better days. Littered with scratches and scars - shattered carbon fibers in the mirror, the door handle is only hanging on a tendon - little Dasha cheers enthusiastically with 4,000 tours and shortly afterwards rushes forward with scraping wheels to transfer her enthusiasm to her rider in the shortest possible time.

Dasha Junior is the nickname for the Red Bull Team's Skoda Fabia Super 2000, the first customer car that went to a customer from the main plant in Mlada Boleslav. Excuse me, the second car, because the first was Dasha Senior, which his regular driver Patrick Sandell threw headlong into a rock in Portugal.

The Skoda Fabia Super 2000 is a hot topic in rallying

The successor has just returned from the Acropolis Rally and still bears the marks of a futile fight. The Red Bull squad had gone out with former junior world champion Sandell to defend the production car world championship, but a burned-out ignition coil prevented a possible victory. Before the final in Wales, Sandell only has theoretical chances. He has to win and hope for a total failure of the competition. Budding thoughts that sport auto are now also testing loser types out of pity are out of place. Dasha and her factory siblings are currently, apart from the World Rally Cars, the hottest irons in the fire of rallying.

That seemed like the production car world championship, which last year with a Group-N Mitsubishi was still hard-won Red Bull Team 2009 to take in a coup. Sandell won easily at the start in Norway and a few weeks later in Cyprus. Only the Portugal crash and a defective ignition coil in Greece could ultimately cost the title. The opponents in their near-series devices à la Lancer Evo IX and Impreza WRX groaned that one could no longer win against the thoroughbred racing technology of the Super 2000 fleas

The group N cars do themselves with the chassis and braking harder

In fact, both compete in the same class. A group N is 250 kilos heavier and in terms of brakes and chassis is extremely difficult, especially on asphalt, against the S2000 faction, whose chassis, like the World Rally Cars, is built with great freedom on body shells. Group N devices only have an advantage when it comes to motors. YourTwo-liter turbos with 280 hp have no more power than the two-liter vacuum cleaners that gave the Super 2000 its name. But thanks to charging with over 500 Newton meters of torque, Dasha only manages half of it.

At 8,500 revolutions, the limiter of the Skoda regulates

Accordingly, the power delivery in the Skoda is more digital. Under 7,000 tours the Fabia only turns up acoustically powerfully, above that it means to be quick. The limiter locks at 8,500 revolutions, and a quick grip on the gear stick of the sequential six-speed gearbox is required. The driver has to take a lot of momentum, especially uphill, in order not to starve to death between the yellow and red LEDs on the shift lamp. The Super 2000 requires a very precise driving style, the low torque is not enough to shoot the load onto the next straight with a bold step on the pedal and swift counter-steering without losing any time during sweeping drifts. Drifting in the four-meter-short Fabia is almost easier than driving straight ahead in a controlled manner. The stern acknowledges even the slightest rocking maneuver with an enthusiastic lunge. The Fabia is very easy to drive sideways and looks more agile even compared to the sophisticated all-wheel drive of the WRC.

Due to the rules, archaic technology is used in the Super 2000. The transmission and drivetrain are unitary parts, an expensive center differential is completely prohibited - the Fabia drives like its competitors Peugeot 207 or Fiat Grande Punto with a rigid through drive. The weight does not make it ideal for maximum mobility either. The Super 2000, which was actually designed for 1,100 kilograms, had to add weight to the group-N cars for better equality of opportunity. Even a small Fabia now weighs 1.2 tons. In order to distribute it well, Red Bull chief engineer Dietmar Metrich screwed part of the pounds onto the rear underbody protection, so the weight distribution is almost half distributed. The seating position of the occupants also helps, as they were pushed back over 20 centimeters like in a racing touring car. Only beginners buckle up and then try to reach their gloves lying on the instrument panel.

The two-liter engine of the Skoda Fabia S 2000 comes from Oreca

Compared to earlier sports equipment from Skoda, the Fabia looks extremely clever and consistently designed. It bears the signature of the new sports director Michal Hrabanek, who has been enthroned for two years. He quickly said goodbye to the former idleness of the Czechs and gathered as many outside experts as possible in order to put a top car up and running - without great time pressure. The two-liter engine comes from the French forge Oreca, which already dominates the World Touring Car Championship with Seat. For the chassis they secured themselvesamong others the services of the former Mitsubishi chief designer Mario Fornaris.

'You have to adapt to the realities of the business', says Hrabanek in view of his mercenary troops, and the success proves him right. Even on his debut at the Monte Carlo Rally, the Finnish newcomer Juho Hänninen slapped his opponents with the best times until he destroyed his car in the heat of the moment. Apart from the Briton Chris Meeke in his Peugeot, nobody can keep up with the Skoda's pace in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge IRC, which was specially created for S2000 cars. The Fiat is too old at four years of age, the Peugeot is no longer the youngest either.

Rally competition from Citroen and Ford

First when Citroën and Ford throw their Super 2000 into battle next year, a serious opponent will grow up for Dasha and her sisters. For the WRC top dogs, developing a Super 2000 for customers is a finger exercise. The world motor sport association FIA declared this vehicle class to be the basis for the future World Rally Cars category from 2011. Various WRC drivers like Petter Solberg are already practicing excursions in Super 2000 cars, which, at around a quarter of a million, are no more than half as expensive as a good World Rally Car. Only the lack of torque criticized the WRC faction. The FIA ​​wants to remedy this by allowing 1.6-liter turbos for future cars.

Until the new technical regulations are in place, the naturally aspirated Fabia may still be allowed in the second leagues, PWRC and IRC to beat the competition. In the IRC, local hero Jan Kopecky beat the opponents in the Barum Rally in the works car, in the World Championship works driver Juho Hänninen drove as a guest starter in Finland for the competition. The Finn certifies that apart from the 25 kilograms heavier standard tires in the PWRC car compared to his factory device in the IRC there is no qualitative difference. No wonder - Red Bull team boss Raimund Baumschlager performed an important part of the development work as a test driver and is treated courteously by the works team when it comes to parts supply.

So he gave the young Dasha to the guest driver from sport auto without fear . For others, the much sought-after Skoda Fabia is hard to come by, Baumschlager has long since had a second car in the garage just in case. Maybe one of the blue cars in 2010 will even end up in the hands of a German. At least the young man Hermann Gaßner Junior will soon have an appointment with sponsor Red Bull.

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