Indian tyre major sponsored Team MRF has separated from long time partner and Japanese automaker Mitsubishi. For the 2012 Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Team MRF will join hands with Czech automaker and Volkswagen group company Skoda. This development means that Team MRF will now break decade long partnership with Mitsubishi, one that saw the Indian rally outfit winning no less than 3 APRC championship titles. Skoda will partner Team MRF’s rally effort with the Skoda Fabia S2000 Rally Car. Ace Indian rally driver Gaurav Gill will drive the Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car in the 2012 APRC season.

Team MRF’s move to Skoda from Mitsubishi is said to be prompted by the change of FIA rules, which has meant that the Mitsubisi Evolution-X cars are too heavy i unmodified guise, and thus uncompetitive, when compared to the lighter cars on the field like the Skodas and the Protons, which according to the FIA rules can be modified. Skoda, by the way has a presence in India, with the Fabia hatchback being sold in the Indian market as a upmarket premium B+ segment hatchback. When compared to th vanilla road going version, the Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car is a monster of sorts when it comes to brute power and torque.

While the Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car uses the same body shell as the road car, the body is heavily reinforced to handle the tough rigors that the rally circuits across the world will throw at it. Along with a roll cage equipped, heavily fortified body shell, the Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car will also come with an all new rally spec suspension system. The Skoda Fabia S200o’s naturally aspirated 2 liter petrol engine revs all the way to 8,500 rpm, producing a mammoth 270 Bhp. This much power mated to a sequential gearbox, with a 300 Kg weight and 400mm length advantage over the Mitsubishi Evolution-X means that the Skoda S2000 is a faster rally car, and the prime reason for Team MRF making the switch.

Source - ICB