With the category win from the season opening Rallye Monte-Carlo and second place on this weekend’s Arctic Rally Finland, Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) clearly top the overall standings of WRC2. After the second round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship, which came into the calendar as late replacement for cancelled Rally Sweden, the ŠKODA Motorsport supported Norwegians lead with a 24 points advantage from Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN). “I like competition, but this weekend I couldn’t really match the speed of Esapekka. Second best was all I could do,” Mikkelsen congratulated WRC2 winner Lappi. “It looks, like we have some work to do to improve the car’s setup on loose surface events.”
Team mates Eyvind Brynildsen/Veronica Gulbæk Engan (NOR/NOR) finished the Rovaniemi based event fourth in WRC2, adding more championship points to the tally of reigning WRC2 Team Champion Toksport WRT. “I’m happy with the points scored by both crews. Great from Andreas to win the Power Stage, he was also clever enough to bring second place to the finish. Considered that Eyvind came into the car on short notice, he also delivered a very good job,” team principal Serkan Duru commented.
ŠKODA customer teams dominated proceedings in WRC3, the category reserved for pure private crews. Seven of the top ten cars in the final result sport the logo of the Czech brand. In first place: Teemu Asunmaa/Marko Salminen (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo), who took the lead during the second leg and defended it to the finish after ten stages. The Finns are now share the lead in the WRC3 overall standings, equal on points with Rallye Monte-Carlo winners Rossel/Fulcrand from France. Mikko Heikkilä and co-driver Topi Luhtinen, also driving a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo and from Finland as well, made it to the last step on the Arctic Rally Finland podium. Former FIA World Rallycross Champion Mattias Ekström (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) from Sweden finished his first world championship event after a 15 years break fifth in WRC3.
The next round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship is another newcomer to the series’ calendar. From 22 to 25 April, the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews and their competitors meet again at the all-asphalt Rally Croatia, based in the country’s capital Zagreb.
Result Arctic Rally Finland (WRC2)
1. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN), VW Polo GTI Rally2, 2:05:56.6 hrs.
2. Mikkelsen/Fløene (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +47.7 sec.
3. Gryazin/Aleksandrov (RAF/RAF), VW Polo GTI Rally 2, +1:30.3 min.
4. Brynildsen/ Gulbæk Engan (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +2:44.9 min.
5. Veiby/Andersson (NOR/SWE), Hyundai NG i20 Rally2, +2:54.2 min.
6. Prokop/Ernst (CZE/CZE), Ford Fiesta MkII Rally2, +7:00.1 min.
Championship Standings WRC2/Drivers and co-drivers (after 2 rounds)
1. Mikkelsen/Fløene (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 53 points
2. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN), VW Polo GTI Rally2, 29 points
3. Fourmaux/Jamoul (FRA/BEL), Ford Fiesta Rally2, 25 points
4. Camilli/Buresi (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 17 points
5. Gryazin/ Aleksandrov (RAF/RAF), VW Polo GTI Rally 2, 17 points
Result Arctic Rally Finland (WRC3)
1. Asunmaa/Salminen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 2:11:55.3 hrs.
2. Kaur/Simm (EST/EST), VW Polo GTI Rally2, +4.2 sec.
3. Heikkilä/Luhtinen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +1:38.6 min.
Championship Standings WRC3/Drivers and co-drivers (after 2 rounds)
1. Rossel/Fulcrand (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 28 points
2. Asunmaa/Salminen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 28 points
3. Kaur/Simm (EST/EST), VW Polo GTI Rally2, 23 points
Number of the day: 126.2
Stage “Aittajärvi 2” was the fastest of Arctic Rally Finland. Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) flew through the 22.47 kilometres long Power Stage with an average speed of 126.2 kph – on a fully snow and ice covered road.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
Arctic Rally Finland 26 – 28 February
Rally Croatia 22 – 25 April
Vodafone Rally Portugal 20 – 23 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 3 – 6 June
Safari Rally Kenya 24 – 27 June
Rally Estonia 15 – 18 July
Rally Finland 29 July – 1 August
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium 13 – 15 August
COPEC Rally Chile 9 – 12 September
RallyRACC Rally de España 14 – 17 October
Rally Japan 11 –14 November