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In 1988, the long era of ŠKODA vehicles with rear-engine and rear-wheel drive came to an end for the time being: the factory drivers from Mladá Boleslav drove their last rallies in the legendary 130 LR vehicles and practically began their training 'overnight' in the new, front-wheel drive ŠKODA FAVOURITE. While the ŠKODA 1987 LR was still driving the domestic rally tracks in September 130, there was a real paradigm shift at the International Engineering Fair in Brno: ŠKODA presented the FAVORIT for the first time to the public's interest. The modern short-tail model with front-engined and front-wheel drive was a completely new development, for which the Czech automobile manufacturer also expected good sales opportunities in the demanding Western European markets.
Motorsport versions Škoda Favorit
In Mladá Boleslav, the development of a rally version began immediately, the success of which was intended to promote the new model internationally. Factory driver Vladimír Berger played an important role in the development of the racing car. He drove the ŠKODA FAVORIT, which was not officially homologated at the time, for voting purposes on selected rallies of the Czechoslovak Championship in 1988. The vehicle was homologated under the registration number A-1 on January 1989, 5373, before the FAVORIT shortly afterwards with the Křeček / Motl, Sibera driver teams / Gross and Berger / Petera made a successful debut at the traditional rally 'Valašská zima'.
Internationally, the FAVORIT made its debut at the Finnish Hanki Rally and drove to class victory with Kalevi Aho at the wheel. The FAVORIT also dominated in the aftermath and drove almost exclusively to class victories. He also prevailed against the competition in demanding World Championship races such as the Monte Carlo Rally, the RAC Rally, the Finnish 1000 Lakes Rally or the Acropolis Rally. The winning streak of the duo Pavel Sibera / Petr Gross, who won their class four times in a row at the Monte Carlo Rally between 1991 and 1994, is particularly impressive.
World championship title in the Formula 2 class
With the announcement of the World Cup for vehicles with naturally aspirated engines, a maximum displacement of two liters and a driven axle - the so-called Formula 2 - new rules in rallying came into force in 1993. In the first season, the ŠKODA Motorsport works team took second place, before leaving numerous well-known competitors behind in the following year and securing the world championship title in the Formula 2 class.
As a class A rally vehicle, the ŠKODA FAVORIT looked very similar to the production model at first glance, but it was a pure racing car. The rigidity of the body, made from thinner sheet metal, was improved by a certified safety frame. Compared to the standard version, the roof had a mechanical flap that ensured better ventilation of the interior. Windows and door panels came from the production model, but the upholstery and rear seat were removed and, thanks to numerous other measures, it was possible to reduce the curb weight to 750 kilograms.
The control panel remained unchanged, but the displays and switches were adapted and placed so that they could also be operated by the front passenger if necessary. A brake force distributor, which could be adapted to the current route conditions, conducted the brake pressure to the rear wheels. A sports steering wheel made handling the FAVORIT easier.
The engine had an OHV valve control, the displacement increased compared to the series engine from 1.289,4 to 1.299,6 cubic centimeters. Connecting rods, cams and other parts were new. The engine initially developed 76 kW at 6.500 revolutions per minute, later the power increased to 88 kW at 7.000 revolutions thanks to a Pierburg double carburetor. A five-speed gearbox initially provided the traction, which was subsequently replaced by a six-speed gearbox with straight teeth. The top speed of the FAVORIT was - depending on the overall ratio - between 150 and 210 km / h.
The white body was originally decorated with red and blue stripes, which later gave way to a checkerboard pattern in the same colors. This was replaced in 1993 by a green victory symbol 'V' and a red stripe - today's emblem of the RS vehicles.
The ŠKODA FAVORIT 136 L / A, which was modified for racing purposes, held its own off the rally slopes on circuits and hill climbs. The FAVORIT 1989 L / H, developed in 136 for circular routes, was of particular technical interest. The built-in four-cylinder engine 790.16 OHC was a prototype with a displacement increased to 1.596 ccm. The car had two Weber twin carburettors and developed 123 kW (167 hp) at 6.500 rpm. The torque of 176 Nm was applied at 5 rpm. The vehicle reached a top speed of 500 km / h and accelerated from 240 to 0 km / h in just six seconds. The engine was later given direct injection and the output increased to 100 kW (129 hp). The modified ŠKODA FAVORIT competed in the 175-hour race at the Nürburgring, where the trio Kvaizar / Samohýl / Obermann achieved a class win.
ŠKODA FAVORIT replaced by ŠKODA FELICIA
On the rally track, the ŠKODA FAVORIT replaced the more modern ŠKODA FELICIA in 1995, but the FAVORIT, a powerful and affordable motor sports vehicle, was on the starting lists of numerous races for many years to come.
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Motorsport versions of the Škoda Favorit
Photo credit: Škoda
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