With ambient temperatures peaking at 35 degrees centigrade, the competition on the demanding high-speed gravel roads of Rally Poland was a tough test for men and machine. Also, the opener of the 2021 FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) celebrated its 100th birthday with an impressive entry list of 72 crews, 15 of them competing in ŠKODA FABIA. Right from the start, Norwegians Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene in a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo run by Toksport WRT were locked in a fierce fight for podium positions. “It was okay, although I did some mistakes and lost some seconds,” was Mikkelsen’s comment after the first half of the Saturday leg. In general, the Rally Poland winner of 2016 – when it was part of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – took a more cautious approach after not finishing the last WRC round in Italy.
During the second run of the morning loop, the gravel stages were covered with deep ruts and Mikkelsen was carefully managing his tyres. The tactics worked, with a faultless drive, he climbed to second overall until the end of the Saturday leg.
On Sunday, Andreas Mikkelsen won two stages and was overall fastest driver during the second leg of the rally. He significantly reduced the gap to eventual winner Lukyanuk and in the end settled for a safe second place. Climbing onto the podium in Warsaw, the Norwegian was happy. “Our ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo proved again, how fast it can be driven even on tough gravel roads. I have to tank the whole Toksport WRT team for providing me such an excellent rally car,” he concluded.
Finishing third overall, local heroes Mikołaj Marczyk/Szymon Gospodarczyk in Team Orlen’s ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo climbed onto the podium as well. Nils Solans (ESP), the FIA Junior World Rally Champion of 2017 navigated by WRC event winning co-driver Marc Martí (ESP), brought one of Rally Team Spain’s ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo home in fourth place. Multiple Hungarian champion Norbert Herczig/Ramón Ferencz of ŠKODA Rally Team Hungaria took fifth place. In total, seven ŠKODA FABIA crews finished inside the top 10.
Result Rally Poland
1. Lukyanuk/Arnautov (RUS/RUS), Citroën C3 Rally2, 1:48:31.3 hrs.
2. Mikkelsen/ Fløene (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +18.4 sec.
3. Marczyk/Gospodarczyk (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +1:54.7 min.
4. Solans/Martí (ESP/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +3:06.2 min.
5. Herczig/Ferencz (HUN/HUN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +3:44.8 min.
6. Llarena/Fernández (ESP/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +3:46.5 min.
Number of the rally: 7
Seven crews competing with a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo made it into the top 10 of Rally Poland, opening round of the European Rally Championship 2021.
2021 FIA European Rally Championship
Rally Poland 18 – 20 June
Rally Liepāja (Latvia) 1 – 3 July
Rally Roma di Capitale (Italy) 23 – 25 July
Barum Czech Rally Zlín 27 – 29 August
Azores Rallye (Portugal) 16 – 19 September
Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (Portugal) 1 – 3 October
Rally Hungary 22 – 24 October
Rally Islas Canarias (Spain) 18 – 20 November