Skoda WRC drivers Toni Gardemeister and Didier Auriol says the new-launched Fabia rally car is much faster than the current Octavia and should be competitive on tar road courses.

Skoda WRC drivers Toni Gardemeister and Didier Auriol says the new-launched Fabia rally car is much faster than the current Octavia and should be competitive on tar road courses.

Gardemeister and Auriol completed 300km of asphalt testing this week - their first taste of the Fabia on sealed surfaces - near Trier in Germany.

"I'm very happy," said Gardemeister. "The car is quite similar to the Peugeot 206 I drove in Monte Carlo in 2001 - maybe even better. We had no mechanical problems in the test. The turbo pipe worked itself loose, but that was nothing.

"We've still got quite a lot of work to do but I think it's good enough for tarmac already. I'm very encouraged, already it is quicker than the Octavia," he added.

Auriol said: "The test confirmed what I had always thought - the car has potential and every possibility of doing well. It reminds me a little bit of the Peugeot… the feeling is very, very good."

Gardemeister and Auriol now head to Greece to put the Fabia through its paces on rough gravel.

"The speed is there," added the Finn. "Now we need reliability."