2002 Skoda Octavia WRC Evo 3
- Ex-Works Skoda Motorsport World Rally car
- Entrant in the 2002, 2003 and 2005 World Rally Championship
- Raced by World Rally victor Kenneth Eriksson and Finnish Rally Champion Toni Gardemeister
- Upgraded in period by the factory to the final and most extreme Evo3 specification
- Accompanied by its original FIA Gold Book, Skoda Motorsport Certificate, UK V5 and an impressive history file documenting its competition history
The Skoda Octavia WRC
We love it when we find a car with the power to surprise – when there’s much more to it than meets the eye. This ex-Works 2002 Skoda Octavia WRC Evo3 is certainly one of those cars.
Large. Boxy. Practical. The Octavia was a car you would have expected to see trawling up and down the motorways of Great Britain in the early 2000s, or taking drunken revelers home after a night out on the town. Not devouring dirt, gravel and snow on special stages of the World Rally Championship.
But sure enough, Skoda took its mid-range saloon rallying in 1999, seizing the chance to bolster its rich off-road heritage and climb into the ring with the raft of other major manufacturers who’d flocked to the WRC at the turn of the century.
Having just shaken down this ultimate Evo3-specification Octavia at the legendary Turweston aerodrome, we can confirm Skoda knew what it was doing. It’s bonkers. Thanks to its sophisticated Xtrac four-wheel-drive system, the way the car hikes up its skirt and pounces from the line is nothing short of eye-watering.
The sequential gears come thick and fast, each change punctuated by a deafening crack from the single exhaust pipe, and the car’s ability to change direction so convincingly truly defies its bulky proportions. It also sounds glorious – that 300HP turbocharged inline four breathes through 20 valves and delivers a distinctive symphony of buzzes, whistles and bangs. And that’s before you engage the highest stage of the antilag system…
This Skoda Octavia WRC Evo3
This Octavia WRC was first registered to Skoda Auto A.S on 4 January 2002, when it was assigned the registration number ‘MBO 72-24’. A Works Skoda Motorsport car, it was first drafted into action at the 46th Tour de Corse, which was round three of that year’s World Rally Championship. Kenneth Eriksson and Christina Thorner were in the cockpit.
‘MBO 72-24’ contested five further rounds of the 2002 season, the Finnish Rally Champion Toni Gardemeister and his co-driver Paavo Lukander scoring a season-best 10th overall at the 58th Network Q Rally of Great Britain in November.
Crucially, midway through 2002, this Octavia was upgraded by the factory to the final and most extreme Evo3 specification, which comprised modifications to the front bumper and bonnet and new inlet manifold, throttle body and exhaust systems.
Another busy year beckoned for ‘MBO 72-24’ in 2003. Save for its first event of the year, the 4th Rally of Turkey, in which Gardemeister and Lukander finished an impressive seventh overall, this Octavia was driven solely by Jan Kopecky and Filip Schovanek in 2003, under the Skoda Matador banner. This was the Works-backed junior team for the marque’s up and coming drivers. Skoda remained the registered owner of this car.
Throughout the course of the season, ‘MBO 72-74’ contested eight subsequent events: two World Rally Championship rounds – Germany and Wales – and five smaller domestic and national events.
Among the latter, this Octavia claimed two fantastic outright victories in Skoda’s home country of the Czech Republic, at both the 25th AAA Auto Rally Pribram and the 14th Horacka Rally Trebic.
Skoda retained ‘MBO 72-74’ until June of 2004, when it was bought by the UK-based Prospeed Motorsport outfit. Along with a new Czech registration number, ‘S14 50E’, the car was also issued with its Skoda Motorsport Certificate, confirming its provenance as a factory prepared and entered car.
In 2005, this Octavia was whisked back onto the world stage, entering round seven and round eight of the World Rally Championship in Turkey and Greece, respectively.
Later, in October of 2005, the car was issued with its MSA Competition Car Log Book and subsequently entered into a number of domestic events. The Skoda was honourably retired from competitive service in 2006, from which point it has been expertly stored maintained by Ian Gwynne and the renowned specialists at BGM Sport on behalf of its owner. The multiple maintenance invoices we have on file total more than £45,000.
During this time, the Skoda has also been UK registered and demonstrated at prestigious events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, for which it is extremely eligible.
The longevity of this Skoda’s period competition career is thanks to the reliability and ruggedness of the mighty Octavia, characteristics which sustained the entire programme until the introduction of the smaller Fabia WRC in 2003.
Included in this car’s generous history file, in addition to the period photography, extensive invoices and copies of period rally reports, is its FIA gold book. This crucial piece of documentation was stamped and signed at each World Rally Championship event the car entered, guaranteeing its excellent provenance.
Today, this car is an accessible and cost-effective avenue into the fantastic and fast-appreciating arena of World Rally cars. “I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this Octavia is to drive,” commented Max after our Turweston shakedown. “It’s so much more nimble than its looks would lead you to believe and it sounds ever bit as good from in the cabin as it does from the outside. It’s a super cool thing.”
Best of all? As with all rally cars, this on-the-button 2002 Skoda Octavia WRC Evo3 is road-registered, which means you can sample that dizzying and appearance-defying performance on the way to the shops.
FIA Gold Book
08-10 March 2002 - 46th Tour de Corse - WRC
22-24 March 2002 - 38th Rally Catalunya - WRC
13-16 June 2002 - 19th Acropolis Rally - WRC
08-11 August 2002 - 52nd Neste Rally Finland - WRC
19-22 September 2002 - 44th Rallye Sanremo - WRC
27 Feb - 02 March 2003 - 4th Rally of Turkey - WRC
14-17 November 2002 - 58th Rally GB - WRC
25-27 July - 22nd Rallye Deutschland - WRC
06-09 November 2003 - 59th Wales Rally GB - WRC
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