Head of Škoda Motorsport, Michal Hrabánek, has told DirtFish he would like to see Kris Meeke competing in a Fabia Rally2 next season.
Meeke has been busy testing the latest evolution of Škoda’s Fabia Rally2 in Finland this week. But Hrabánek wants to see a closer involvement between the five-time world rally winner and Škoda next year.
“We have done – and we are doing – some work with Kris already,” Hrabánek told DirtFish. “We are very happy with him and the way things are going.
“We didn’t talk about next year, but it would be interesting to see him [competing] in a Škoda Fabia Rally2.
“We are focused on the testing and the development with the new car, we haven’t discussed any kind of competition.
“As you know Škoda Motorsport does not compete as a factory team, so any kind of competition would have to come through one of our customers.”
Hrabánek added that he and Meeke had a long history, stretching back more than a decade.
“I have known Kris for a long time,” he said. “It goes all the way back to the IRC when we were competitors.”
Meeke drove for Peugeot then and won the 2009 championship. His last competitive outing on a rally was in January on the opening Middle East round of the 2021 season, where he set a string of fastest times on the opening day of Rally Qatar in a Fabia Rally2 before retiring.
Talking about the development of Škoda Motorsport’s new car – which is expected to be homologated in August 2022 – Hrabánek added: “The all-new Škoda Fabia for the Rally2 category has entered the development and testing stage.
“Fortunately, our technicians can build on comprehensive know-how and expertise of the ongoing Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo project, which still is very successful worldwide.”
As well as Finland, the car has recently been running in Czech Republic, France and Spain on gravel on asphalt. Jan Kopecký, Andreas Mikkelsen and Emil Lindholm have all driven it as well as Meeke.
Since its arrival in 2015, Škoda’s Fabia has taken more titles than any other R5/Rally2 car with close to 1400 overall and class successes as well as 3300 podiums around the world.
More than 400 R5, Rally2 and Rally2 evo cars have been sold.