With two WRC2 stage wins and one third fastest time, Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) extended their category lead significantly during the second leg of the 2021 season opener. The winterly roads asked for studded snow tyres for all of Saturday, perfect conditions for the experienced Norwegian crew. They arrived in Monaco harbour 2:13.8 minutes ahead of second placed Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (FRA/BEL).
Again, Mikkelsen was full of praise for his safety crew. Fellow Norwegians Bernt Kollevold and Cato Menkerud check each stage roughly 90 minutes before the actual start for changes compared to the pace notes, relaying them to co-driver Ola Fløene just in time. “Their information was really spot on. I have the best safety crew in the whole world,” Mikkelsen acknowledged. Going into the final leg on Sunday, he is planning a relaxed strategy. „We have a big lead, so for the last stages it’s quite easy – we don’t need to push, we just have to get to the end.“
Tackling the legendary “Monte” for the first time and of top of that with very small experience on snow covered roads, Toksport WRT’s second ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo driver Marco Bulacia mastered the difficult second leg without setting a foot wrong. In stage 10, the 20 years from Bolivia and Argentinian co-driver Marcelo Der Ohannesian even posted the second fastest time among the WRC2 competitors. “I’m very happy and fully motivated for tomorrow”, Bulacia looked ahead to the final leg on Sunday.
29 competitors in Rally2 cars survived the difficult second leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo. As well as in WRC2, Mikkelsen/Fløene are by far fastest of this classification as well. Eleven more ŠKODA crews follow the two Norwegians, making the Czech brand the most popular in this class.
On Sunday, Rallye Monte-Carlo features another four stages in the mountains close to the Principality. The last 54.48 competitive kilometres will bring the decision during the season opener of the FIA World Rally Championship. The winner is expected on the finish ramp at 2:18 pm local.
Standings Rallye Monte-Carlo after Leg 2 (WRC2)
1. Mikkelsen/Fløene (NOR/NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 2:21:54.6 hrs.
2. Fourmaux/Jamoul (FRA/BEL), Ford Fiesta Rally2, +2:13.8 min.
3. Camilli/Buresi (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +2:31.4 min.
4. Bulacia/Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +8:28.3 min.
5. Johnston/Kihurani (USA/USA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +11:29.3 min.
6. Brazzoli/Barone (ITA/ITA), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +39:28.6 min.
Number of the day: 1:26.7
In only three stages, Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) extended their WRC2 lead by a whopping 1:26.7 minutes.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
Arctic Lapland (Finland) 25 – 28 February
Croatia 22 – 25 April
Portugal 20 – 23 May
Italia Sardegna 3 – 6 June
Safari Kenya 24 – 27 June
Estonia 15 – 18 July
Finland 29 July – 1 August
Ypres (Belgium) 13 – 15 August
Chile 9 – 12 September
Spain 14 – 17 October
Japan 11 –14 November