The organizers of the 2020 edition of Rally Sweden fought heroically against the unseasonal warm weather and a lack of snow in the Värmland region of Sweden and across the border in Norway. For a long time, it was not clear, whether the rally could talk place at all. But common efforts finally secured nine stages covering 148.55 kilometres. On Sunday, only the 21.19 kilometres long “Likenäs” TV Wolf Power Stage remained. Under heavy rainfalls on mud and ice, the test brought the decision in a tense fight for victory and podium positions also in the WRC3 category.
The Finnish ŠKODA privateers Emil Lindholm/Mikael Korhonen (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) were leading the WRC3 category until stage 7, when they lost the lead to the Hyundai crew Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (FIN/FIN). During the final 21.19 kilometres of stage 9, they tried everything they could. But to no avail, they reached the finish five seconds adrift of their rivals.
18 years old ŠKODA youngster Oliver Solberg and co-driver Aaron Johnston started into the ultimate test on their WRC3 debut with the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo with a tiny lead of 1.1 seconds over former FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson (SWE, Volkswagen) and co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen (NOR). But with the finish virtually in sight, Oliver Solberg was hit by bad luck. He collected a puncture, the time loss of 1:53 minutes relegated him to fifth place in the category.
The Finnish ŠKODA privateers Eerik Pietarinen/Miikka Anttila (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) finished fourth in the WRC3 category. ŠKODA’s 2017 WRC2 Champion Pontus Tidemand (SWE) and co-driver Patrick Barth (SWE), driving a privately entered a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo of Toksport WRT Team, conquered third position of the separate WRC2 category.
“Congratulations to the ŠKODA crews, who all made it to the finish line. We are happy, that among the nine cars of the WRC3 category, seven were competing with a FABIA. I feel sorry for Oliver and Aaron. Under the most difficult road conditions, they delivered a promising performance until unfortunately a puncture cost them a possible podium position. We are now looking forward to the next event in the cooperation between Oliver’s own team and us coming May in Portugal,” said ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek.
Final Result Rally Sweden (WRC3)
1. Huttunen/Lukka (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 Rally2, 1:15:46.1 h.
2. Lindholm/Korhonen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +5.0 sec.
3. Kristoffersson/Skjærmoen (SWE/NOR), Volkswagen Polo GTI Rally2, +31.3 sec.
4. Pietarinen/Anttila (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +1:12.2 min.
5. Solberg/Johnston (SWE/IRL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +2:23.2 min.
Championship Standings WRC3 (after 2 of 13 rounds)
1. Eric Camilli (FRA), Citroën, and Jari Huttunen (FIN), Hyundai, 25 points
3. Nicolas Ciamin (FRA), Citroën, and Emil Lindholm (FIN), ŠKODA,18 points
Number of the day: 9
Nine ŠKODA crews started Rally Sweden, they all made it to the finish, seven of them among the nine finishers in the WRC3 category for private teams.
The calendar of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship
New Zealand 03/09/–06/09/2020
Great Britain 29/10/–01/11/2020