Skoda Fabia Super 2000

Ultra-successful rally car gives a taste of what Fabia is really capable of.

Park the rally car next to the roadgoing Fabia, and the similarities are pretty clear. But apart from the same shade of bright green paint, a bodyshell and a few cosmetic items – such as the door handles, grille and lights – the Super 2000 doesn’t share any components with its vRS cousin.

Every model is hand-built by Skoda Motorsport in Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic – a job that takes 300 hours. Its lightweight body panels are made of composite or aluminium, while a 178mm wider track and bulging wheelarches ensure the rally car looks far sportier than the tall and narrow regular Fabia.

The Super 200o is a specialised piece of race engineering. Under the bonnet, the normally aspirated 265bhp 2.0-litre engine is built by French motorsport specialist ORECA, and is matched to a six-speed sequential gearbox from British company Xtrac.

The electronics are from Italian expert Magneti Marelli. The suspension can be fine-tuned for different surfaces. For our time with the S2000, it was in gravel trim – signified by the raised body and knobbly tyres.

On tarmac events, Skoda stiffens the springs, and fits bigger brakes and slick rubber. As you’d expect, the cabin is totally focused on the job in hand. The driver is safely encased within the rollcage, and sits low down – nearly level with the B-pillar – with the steering wheel, gearlever and handbrake positioned close by. Six-point harnesses and figure-hugging seats hold you firmly in place, and all of the switches are located on a panel next to the driver’s seat.

The four-wheel-drive Super 2000 weighs only 1,200kg – it’s 118kg lighter than the vRS – yet has an extra 87bhp. Surprisingly, the race-bred engine produces 5Nm less torque than the 1.4-litre TSI unit, but short gearing and instant power delivery mean acceleration is a blur of upshifts. And it leaves the vRS trailing.

Through corners, the rally model really blows your mind. The directness and delicacy of the steering is incredible. And because you sit so far back in the centre of the car, the sharp turn-in sees the Fabia dart into bends.

Hit the accelerator and a pair of mechanical differentials channel enough power to the rear axle to send the tail into a slide, allowing you to balance the Super 2000 gracefully out of corners with the steering.

Top rally drivers make the most of this immense agility with left-foot braking and skilled use of the handbrake, although even amateurs will be impressed by the way this Skoda stops, steers and accelerates. Plus, with the gravel set-up giving plentiful suspension travel, the competition-spec Fabia rides pretty well, too!

From the evidence of our drive, it’s easy to see why the Super 2000 has built up such a commanding lead in the IRC standings. This car is run by Skoda Motorsport UK, and will be back in action at the Burum Rally in the Czech Republic on 27 August, with British star Guy Wilks behind the wheel.

In detail Price: £210,000 (approx) Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 265bhp 0-60mph: N/a Economy: N/a Claimed CO2: N/a

Details

WHY: Rally model is built by Skoda Motorsport to compete in national championships, as well as the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) series.

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