There was a great deal of laughter, back-slapping and hugging going on in the Skoda service area in Cyprus’s picturesque Paphos harbour on Sunday evening as the Skoda UK Motorsport team celebrated clinching its second straight drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Second place for Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene on the season-ending Cyprus Rally meant everyone in the team could relax and let their hair down, in the knowledge of a job well done. 

The sense of relief and satisfaction was palpable as they joked around in the service park, waiting for their star driver and co-driver to appear for a quick celebration prior to heading off for the official prizegiving ceremony in the town centre. For a bit of light entertainment, they were also getting ready to carry out a final service on Mikkelsen’s Fabia Super 2000, the difference being that this time all the jobs would be handled by the team bosses, with their efforts being judged by the real service crew. 

Team principal Pierfrancesco Zanchi was given the task of changing the left front wheel. But he had a problem: someone had made off with the battery needed to power his wheel gun. Amid a fresh burst of laughter, the battery materialised from behind someone's back just in time for him to clip it into place as the Fabia rolled into the service area.