Astonishing race cars blasting through the rough terrain, breath-taking landscapes, joy and adrenaline! These are my first associations connected to the Rally Bohemia, which has been held since 1974 in Mladá Boleslav and Liberec. I had the chance to experience the Rally Bohemia together with ŠKODA Motorsport’s team, and here I would like to share it with you!
Where Perfection Begins
My journey began with me arriving at the airfield of Mnichovo Hradiště on Saturday. I could feel the atmosphere of the event already when I entered the official service park, and I was more and more astonished by seeing tyre marking, refuelling, pits and much more at the ŠKODA Motorsport service base!
Afterwards, I had the opportunity of a guided tour through the service base of ŠKODA Motorsport. Since the first rally stages of that day were still ongoing, the atmosphere there was relatively relaxed, and the real thrill was about to come. I must say that being inside the team truck containing enough equipment to build additional two cars was a unique moment of my life.
The mechanics performed many service tasks. They changed tyres and checked the engine bay, drivetrain, suspension and underfloor for damages or failures. Cleaning of the car is also very important for not overlooking the smallest detail. It was impressive to see the speed and precision of the mechanics and the perfect organization, under these extreme conditions. It looked like these tasks became second nature for them. Meanwhile, the drivers had a few minutes to cool down and to discuss previous and upcoming rally stages.
Following up, I got the chance to interview David Jareš, Coordinator of the Commercial Programme. It has been a great pleasure to talk to him about his professional career, ŠKODA Motorsport in general, and the Trainee Programme.
In WRC 2 Pro, you are successfully racing against traditional work teams as Ford and Citroën. What, in your opinion, are the reasons for ŠKODA Motorsport’s past and present success in the WRC 2 Pro class?
I believe, the major aspect of the success of ŠKODA Motorsport is its tradition (the ŠKODA brand has been active in motorsport since 1901). Additionally, we have excellent cooperation with ŠKODA’s Technical Development, and we coordinate with a network of experts from other VW GROUP brands and their motorsport divisions.
ŠKODA Motorsport is, organisation-wise, a part of the ŠKODA´s Technical Development. Generally speaking, motorsport is considered a technology carrier of the OEMs. Could you explain how technology transfer from motorsport to serial production of cars?
There is a strong connection between ŠKODA Motorsport and ŠKODA´s Technical Development when it comes to the engine, chassis or aerodynamic development. The high demand for performance in the motorsport sector is an excellent benchmark opportunity. Furthermore, the motorsport environment is a perfect test ground for in-house developments and innovations to be implemented for serial production in the future. Both sides are benefiting from this cooperation. Besides, ŠKODA’s Communication, as well as the Marketing Department, are supporting us and our public appearance.
Being involved in ŠKODA Motorsport is highly appreciated among Trainees. Could you refer to your experience with former Trainees in ŠKODA Motorsport and point out the differences and challenges in comparison with jobs in the “conventional” departments?
ŠKODA Motorsport appreciates the cooperation with the ŠKODA Trainee Programme very much. Trainees are highly educated and motivated, which is an excellent basis for working together. Additionally, the international character of incoming Trainees fits perfectly to the international character of our Customer Programme.
A High-speed Symphony in the Bohemian Mountains
After seeing all the background of the race, I could finally experience the race itself. Rally Bohemia consists of various rally stages. Each of them provides the spectators with an outstanding view of the competing cars.
Thanks to the entry ticket provided by ŠKODA Motorsport I could enter a special area with an even more excellent view of skilled drivers throwing their FABIA R5 evo´s through curves. It was staggering to see this combination of speed, precision and dedication.
I have visited many stages of the rally this weekend, each unique in style. One of the spectators’ points was located at a very sharp 90° corner in the village Frýdštejn. This was an excellent spot to see the rally cars power sliding through the curve on wet tarmac, leaving behind nothing more than a cloud of water.
The Winning Ceremony
In the last stage of the rally in Mladá Boleslav city centre, we got, together with the motorsport enthusiasts of the Trainee Community, to enjoy the drifts and handbrake turn actions in tight city streets! Afterwards, we mixed with the crowd to celebrate the winners who were pouring champagne on the stage.
ŠKODA Motorsport has reached a consecutive double win on the Rally Bohemia, whereby in the end the young star Kalle Rovanperä with a co-driver Jonne Halttunen could prevail against his teammate Jan Kopecký navigated by Pavel Dresler.
I would like to kindly express my gratitude towards ŠKODA Motorsport for this cooperation without which I could not experience the Bohemian Rally to this extend and write this article about it in this form. Notably, the incredible insights, I got from visiting the service base, have been precious, and I appreciate this opportunity very much.
Join us in the Trainee Programme at ŠKODA AUTO for this and many more events and activities. It is always more than a daily working routine, and you’ll never know what excitement awaits! In addition to being part of these events, the networking opportunities in ŠKODA AUTO and the VW GROUP are wide open thanks to the ŠKODA Trainee Programme.