Andreas Mikkelsen og Torstein Eriksen ble nummer tre i WRC2-klassen i Rally Portugal. Les mer i denne pressemeldingen fra Skoda.
Matosinhos (PRT), 14 May 2023 – That was close! Only 1.2 seconds separated Gus
Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE) and Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR)
after 329 stage kilometres and nearly four hours of total driving time. With this small margin,
Greensmith/Andersson won WRC2 at Rally de Portugal, fifth round of the FIA World Rally
Championship (WRC). Solberg/Edmondson finished second ahead of Toksport WRT team mates
Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (NOR/NOR). Remarkably, the three Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
crews were classified sixth, seventh and eighth in the overall result.
Rally de Portugal lived up for its reputation of one of the toughest rounds of the world championship.
Especially during the Friday leg, a great number of punctures shook up the classification after nearly
each stage in the top class of Rally1 cars and also in WRC2. One of the victims was Andreas
Mikkelsen. After a break from the world championship since Acropolis Rally Greece in September
2022, the former WRC2 Champion and co-driver Torstein Eriksen were back in WRC2. At the wheel
of a Toksport WRT run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, Mikkelsen was fighting for the lead right from the
start. But a puncture and the necessary tire change cost the Norwegians roughly two minutes
already in SS4.
When the dust settled after the first eight stages and 120 competitive kilometres on Friday evening,
Oliver Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson topped the WRC2 standings 50 seconds ahead of
their Toksport WRT team mates Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson. Until the end of the Saturday leg,
after 149 more kilometres against the clock, Solberg/Edmondson still had a lead of 35 seconds in
But then the Stewards went into action. After the finish of Saturday’s last stage, a 3.36 kilometres
sprint through the rallycross track of Lousada, Solberg had entertained the huge crowds with some
donuts. Just as his father, former FIA World Rally Champion Petter Solberg aka “Hollywood”, would
have done. Unfortunately, the WRC rules precisely outlaw such show elements. Consequently,
Solberg/Edmondson were handed a one-minute penalty, relegating them to second place in WRC2.
“This penalty is for the fans,” Solberg commented, who eventually started into the Sunday leg trailing
Greensmith by 25 seconds.
By the start of the Power Stage on Sunday, the gap was down to 8.7 seconds. Solberg pulled out all
the stops one more time and went fastest through the rally-ending stage – his seventh stage win of
the weekend. But a full 7.5 seconds gain on Greensmith just wasn’t enough – Solberg/Edmondson
lost the rally by 1.2 seconds. “We gave it everything, that’s for sure. Congrats to Gus and Jonas,”
Solberg showed true sportsmanship. Small consolation for Solberg: With the Rally de Portugal result,
he has closed the gap to WRC2 overall leader Yohan Rossel to one single point. For
Greensmith/Andersson, the Portuguese success was the second WRC2 victory of the season.
Greensmith advanced to third position in the WRC2 overall standings.
In the wake of the Greensmith vs. Solberg duel, Mikkelsen fought his way back into the WRC2 top
three. Winning five stages on the way, Mikkelsen/Eriksen eventually completed a full Škoda Fabia RS
Rally2 podium in WRC2. “I’m still struggling with the feeling for the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. But we are
getting there,” he said at the finish. The three Toksport WRT crews even managed to finish sixth,
seventh and eighth in the overall standings, impressive proof of the reliability of the Škoda Fabia RS
Proceedings in WRC Masters Cup, which is reserved for drivers over the age of 50, initially seemed
to be in the hands of Armin Kremer at the wheel of a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo of team Baumschlager
Rallye&Racing. The former European Rally Champion and his Dakar Rally winning co-driver Timo
Gottschalk led the category by more than 30 seconds, when broken wheel studs sidelined the two
Germans. Category victory still went to a Škoda crew, Alexander Villanueva and co-driver José
Murado Gonzáles from Spain. The category WRC2 Challenger, where only drivers are eligible for
points, who have not yet won a WRC2 or WRC3 title as well as not previously been nominated to
score manufacturer points, was dominated by Marco Bulacia/Diego Vallejo (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2).
The Bolivian-Spanish crew of team Toksport WRT won by more than two minutes.
From the Atlantic coast of Portugal, the FIA World Rally Championship heads to the rough gravel and
heat of a Mediterranean island: Rally Italia Sardegna is next from 1st to 4th June.