Škoda Australia will return to Australian tarmac rally competition in this year’s 20th anniversary of the Targa Tasmania.

The return to competition will see the company’s unique hot-hatch-turned-wagon, the Octavia RS, compete in the important Showroom category for the first time.

The Octavia’s local competition appearance continues a long tradition for the company, which has competed in most forms of motorsport during its 110-year history.

Škoda Australia will enter the Octavia RS this year sporting new livery, in celebration of its recent major sponsorship deal with the AFL’s newest Aussie Rules team, the Greater Western Sydney GIANTS.

The Škoda Octavia RS-P was the first front-wheel-drive car home in its class in 2010. The only two-wheel-drive production vehicles that beat it were two Porsche 911 GT3s and a Chevrolet Corvette. For 2011 the RS will be optimised for Targa’s 2WD Showroom category.

“To finish as fastest front-wheel-drive car in the 2010 Pure Tasmania Modern category demonstrated the potential of the RS against exotic machinery,” commented Matthew Wiesner, Head of Škoda Australia.

“This year we’re pleased to be able to compete in the new two-wheel-drive Showroom class. We’ll still be up against hardcore performance cars but we’re hoping to be able to reinforce the unique package the Octavia RS offers – hot hatch performance in an automatic family-sized wagon.

“We’re also pleased to fly-the-flag for the Greater Western Sydney GIANTS in Tasmania,” he added.

Škoda is currently a frontrunner in world rallying and won both the driver and manufacturer titles in the 12-round 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge series. It also recently announced a return to the WRC arena in partnership with Red Bull.

The 20th anniversary Targa Tasmania will be held from April 5-10. One of the world’s toughest tarmac rallies, the 2000km long event is made up of around 40 special closed road stages. This year entry numbers are expected to approach 400.

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