Andreas Mikkelsen og Torstein Eriksen kune feire sesongens andre seier i WRC2 i Estland på søndag. For Mikkelsens del var dette tredje WRC2-seier i Rally Estland på rad.
Mikkelsen kjørte stabilt og jevnt under hele løpet, og vant ikke mer enn to av totalt 21 fartsetapper. Men det er da heller ikke etappe-seire som avgjør sluttresultatet og med helgens seier er plutselig Mikkelsen og Eriksen med i kampen om årets VM-tittel i WRC2. I en sesong der de hadde lite klart for få uker siden kan det nå bli aktuelt å kjempe om en ny VM-tittel. Det er klart at de også kjører neste VM-runde i Finland, men Skoda Motorsport har antydet at det kan bli flere løp slik at det vil bli mulighet å kjempe om VM-gull for den norske duoen.
Rally Estland var årets tredje VM-runde for Mikkelsen/Eriksen, og de står med tredjeplass i Portugal samt seire både på Sardinia og i Estland og med 69 poeng ligger de nå på andreplass i VM. Totalt er det sju løp som skal være tellende i WRC2, og VM-leder Yohan Rossel har fire tellende løp og 77 poeng så langt.
Andreas Mikkelsen og Torstein Eriksen sikret også en 9.plass totalt i løpet, som ble vunnet av Kalle Rovanperä.
Pressemelding fra Skoda Motorsport
Andreas Mikkelsen and Sami Pajari secure Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 double victory in WRC2
› Sharing a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of team Toksport WRT, former WRC2 Champion Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen from Norway celebrate their second category victory of the season
› Finnish crew Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen drive another Toksport WRT run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to second position in WRC2 and victory in WRC2 Challenger classification
› Oliver Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) post fastest WRC2 times on nearly half of the special stages
Tartu (EST), 23 July 2023 – Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen won WRC2 at Rally Estonia, eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The Norwegians powered the Toksport WRT run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 into the lead after stage 5 and reached the finish 9.7 seconds ahead of their Finnish teammates Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen. With his second WRC2 victory of the season, former WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen advanced to second position of the WRC2 overall standings.
While Mikołaj Marczyk and co-driver Szymon Gospodarczyk (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) posted the fastest WRC2 time on the opening show stage in the streets of Tartu, Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson took control after the first test on Friday morning. Until the service break, the Toksport WRT crew had built a lead of 13.5 seconds over their teammates Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen. But a close encounter with a stone and a broken damper as a consequence stopped Solberg/Edmondson for the day in stage 5.
With a repaired Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, the Swedish-British pairing restarted for leg 2 and established themselves as fastest of all WRC2 crews. They eventually won ten of the rally’s 21 stages. With third position on the rally ending power stage, Solberg at least collected one championship point. “A very disappointing weekend, I have to say. We were fast, that’s the most important conclusion,“ the son of former FIA World Rally Champion Petter Solberg commented.
After Solberg’s mistake, Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) took control of WRC2. The two Norwegians opted for a tactical approach not taking too many risks. For the rest of the rally, they kept the advantage over their Toksport WRT teammates Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen at roughly 15 seconds. “We had a constant speed over the whole weekend. After Oliver and Elliott went off, we just tried to maintain the gap as good as possible. That strategy worked perfectly,“ Mikkelsen summed up his second WRC2 victory of the season. With the 27 points from Estonia, including two power stage points, he jumps to second position in the WRC2 overall standings.
By finishing second in WRC2, Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen also won the WRC2 Challenger classification. Their Toksport WRT teammates Marco Bulacia/Diego Vallejo and Mikołaj Marczyk/Szymon Gospodarczyk made it a complete Škoda podium. Victory in WRC Masters Cup, the sub-category reserved for drivers over the age of 50, went to Alexander Villanueva/José Murado. With their second win of the season, the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 crew from Spain took over the WRC Masters Cup overall lead.
The WRC2 crews stay on fast and flowing gravel stages and head to Jyväskylä. Rally Finland is next already in two weeks’ time (3-6 August 2023).
Rally Estonia, 20-23 July 2023, Result WRC2
1 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, 2:45:57.3 hours
2 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (FIN/FIN), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +9.7 seconds
3 Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 N Rally2, +1:21.7 minutes
4 Marco Bulacia/Diego Vallejo (ESP/ESP), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +2:03.6 minutes
5 Mikołaj Marczyk/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL/POL), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +2:22.9 minutes
Standings WRC2/Drivers (after 8 of 13 rallies)
1 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 77 points (from 4 rallies)
2 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Škoda, 69 points (from 3 rallies)
3 Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda, 65 points (from 5 rallies)
4 Gus Greensmith (GBR), Škoda, 62 points (from 3 rallies)
Number of the rally: 19
Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 crews posted fastest WRC2 times on 19 of the rally’s 21 stages.
The majority of the speed tests was won by Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (10).
Their Toksport WRT teammates Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen took six stages, WRC2 winners Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen were fastest twice. One stage win went to Mikołaj Marczyk/Szymon Gospodarczyk.