Andreas Mikkelsen og Torstein Eriksen stod for et magisk comeback da de vant WRC2-klassen i Akropolis Rally. Les mer i denne pressemeldingen fra Skoda.
Lamia (GR), 10 September 2023 – Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia
RS Rally2) won WRC2 at Acropolis Rally Greece, tenth round of the FIA World Rally
Championship (WRC). The Norwegians didn’t give up after suffering three punctures on Friday
and fought back by eventually winning ten of the event’s 15 stages. Sharing another Toksport
WRT run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, Briton Gus Greensmith and Swedish co-driver Jonas Andersson
finish second. Andreas Mikkelsen now leads the WRC2 overall standings from Frenchman Yohan
Rossel (Citroën) and Greensmith.
With Greece suffering from heavy rains during the week before Acropolis Rally Greece, the event
itself was affected as well. A thick layer of mud replaced the usually bone-dry and extremely rough
road surfaces on most parts of the stages. The shakedown had to be cancelled altogether. But even
in damp and relatively cold conditions, the “Acropolis” lived up to its reputation as toughest gravel
event in Europe.
The action had only just begun, when Andreas Mikkelsen was hit by a series of three punctures, all at
the same corner of his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. “I don’t understand, there must be something wrong,”
the Norwegian was puzzled. At the end of the first leg, Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen
were down in 12th, trailing overnight leaders Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën) by 1:43 minutes.
Second placed Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson led the Škoda charge at that point. The British-
Swedish pairing was second ahead of Marco Bulacia from Bolivia and Spanish co-driver Diego Vallejo.
Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen, the Finnish crew aboard another Toksport WRT run Škoda Fabia RS
Rally2, followed in fourth.
On Saturday, Andreas Mikkelsen was on a charge. “After the problems from Friday, I said to myself:
We cannot leave Greece with seventh place or something, it doesn’t give me any good points. So we
just go maximum. And if we are off the road we’re off the road,“ was his daring strategy for the
Saturday leg. Surprisingly, it worked. Mikkelsen/Eriksen won every single of Saturday’s six stages. “I
just let my inner beast out and gave everything,“ Mikkelsen joked. “In every single corner we were at
Greensmith on the other hand opted for a tactical approach: “Driving fast, but not too fast.” When
leaders Rossel/Dunand were delayed by a puncture, Greensmith/Andersson went into the WRC2
lead. Despite some brake issues, they defended the top position against the storming
Mikkelsen/Eriksen crew and brought an advantage of 12.0 seconds over their Norwegian teammates
to the day’s finish after leg 2.
At that point, Mikkelsen/Eriksen and Greensmith/Andersson were pretty much on their own at the
top of the WRC2 standings. Oliver Solberg, one of the favourites for WRC2 victory, dropped out
already on Friday. A technical issue sidelined the Toksport WRT run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 of the 21-year-old Swede and British co-driver Elliott Edmondson. Their teammates Marco Bulacia/Diego
Vallejo from Bolivia and Spain respectively were running as high as second in WRC2, until they were
stopped by an accident (SS9). When Finnish youngsters Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen had to retire
during the second leg (SS10), also with technical problems, another top Škoda crew was missing
from the time sheets.
On Sunday, the fight for victory between the two Toksport WRT crews came down to the wire. With
two more WRC2 stage wins, Mikkelsen/Eriksen finally took the lead from Greensmith/Andersson,
who had to deal with brake problems. “This victory is a special one,” Mikkelsen beamed. “After Friday
everything looked so dark and we decided we had nothing to lose. We drove the fastest we could at
every corner the whole rally. We had to change the rear diff in the last service, the mechanics are
Obviously, Gus Greensmith was not that happy. “For sure I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed,“
the Briton commented. “Unfortunately the one person, we had to outscore, we haven’t. But second is
not a bad result either.” At least, Gus Greensmith jumped to third in the WRC2 overall standings.
Andreas Mikkelsen extended his lead over Yohan Rossel to 16 points.
For the next round the FIA World Rally Championship stays on gravel, but leaves Europe for South
America. Rally Chile (28 September to 1 October 2023) is next.
Acropolis Rally Greece, 8-10 September 2023, Result WRC2
1 Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, 3:09:57.7 hours
2 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +10.3 seconds
3 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +1:26.0 minutes
4 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (FRA/FRA), Ford Fiesta Rally2 Mk2, +2:16.1 minutes
5 Grégoire Munster/Louis Louka (LUX/BEL), Ford Fiesta Rally2 Mk2, +2:34.7 minutes
6 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +2:54.8 minutes
Standings WRC2/Drivers (after 10 of 13 rallies)
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Škoda, 108 points (from 5 rallies)
2 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 92 points (from 5 rallies)
3 Gus Greensmith (GBR), Škoda, 80 points (from 5 rallies)
4 Sami Pajari (FIN), Škoda, 71 points (from 6 rallies)