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Tue 13 Dec 2022

Wagner confirms ERC title charge

Simon Wagner will mount an attack for the FIA European Rally Championship crown in 2023 - and the Austrian star is not doing things by halves.

Wagner becomes latest star to acquire a brand-new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 from Škoda Motorsport. The car replaces his Fabia Rally2 Evo model, which carried Wagner to back-to-back Austrian championship titles in 2021 and 2022. 

The 29-year-old will debut his new steed at the Jännerrallye early next year and expects to carry out a full eight-round ERC campaign, starting with Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas in March. 

Wagner’s car will run with Michelin tyres and is once again going to be prepared and serviced by Hungarian team Eurosol Racing.  

“If we are happy with the results at the beginning of the season, then yes, we will do the full championship,” Wagner told FIAERC.com.

“Of course, it depends a bit on the results. We will definitely do the first four or five rounds and, if we have some chance to finish the season with a podium position, we’ll stick to this plan and try to go for it.

“I think we have the best possible package with the new car and Michelin tyres,” he continued, “so now we just have to collect a lot of data and I’m sure we will be up to speed quickly."

Wagner contested four ERC rounds in 2022 and immediately proved his outright pace on all surfaces with podiums at the Azores Rallye and Barum Czech Rally Zlín. Quizzed on the step-up from old Škoda to new, he admitted to being very impressed.

“I mean, 90 per cent of the car is completely new. The whole car is bigger because it’s a new platform, but it feels quite similar to the old one in some aspects. Škoda really has done a great job. 

“For sure, [Škoda] did a lot of mileage during the development. As everybody knows, it’s not easy to build something new in one year which is better than something which has already been developed for seven or eight years,” he explained, referencing the hugely-successful Fabia Rally2 Evo. 

“I’m pretty sure this new car will be a lot better but we have to see during the season how much we still can improve.”