RallyRACC Rally de España: ŠKODA driver Andreas Mikkelsen wins WRC2 Drivers’ title*

› Although not competing in Spain, the Norwegian driver of ŠKODA Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT is prematurely crowned WRC2 Drivers’ champion
› On their WRC2 debut in the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, Nikolay Gryazin and co-driver Konstantin Aleksandrov from Russia finish second of the category
› Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen from Finland drive the Toksport WRT ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo to victory in WRC3 category
› Finishing second in WRC3, Team ORLEN’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) from Poland takes the points lead of the category
› Seven ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crews make it into top 10 of the WRC3 category

Salou (ESP), 17 October 2021 – Although he was only spectating, Andreas Mikkelsen left RallyRACC Rally de España as newly crowned WRC2 Driver’s champion*. With only one more round to go in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the ŠKODA Motorsport test driver holds the WRC2 overall lead ex-aequo with fellow Norwegian Mads Østberg. As Mikkelsen has achieved more category victories over the season and Østberg cannot score points at the season’s finale, Mikkelsen is mathematically champion. In contrast, the title race in WRC3, the category reserved for private drivers, is still open. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) from Poland finished second in Spain and conquered the WRC3 points lead. The category victory went to Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen from Finland, who competed in a Toksport WRT run ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo.

Andreas Mikkelsen of ŠKODA Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT was watching RallyRACC Rally de España from the sidelines. The Norwegian had chosen to skip the Spanish WRC round, because WRC2 regulations allow each driver to score championship points on a maximum of seven of the twelve events. With six results already in the books, Mikkelsen will be back in action during the next round in Monza. In Catalonia, the pressure was on his championship rival Mads Østberg. Norwegian as well, he had to finish third or higher in WRC2 to keep the title race open until the season’s finale in Italy. But Østberg only managed to take fourth position, eventually equalling Mikkelsen’s points score – not enough to beat his compatriot.

“It’s super weird to win the WRC2 Drivers’ title while sitting in the service park. Still, it’s an incredible feeling to take overall victory against such a tough competition. The season went perfect, my ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo was reliable all the way,” Mikkelsen commented. Michal Hrabánek, Head of ŠKODA Motorsport, added: “Congratulations to Andreas for winning the 2021 WRC2 Drivers’ title. I’m proud of our cooperation with him, which started already twelve years ago with the ŠKODA FABIA S2000. Today Andreas added another valuable championship to the impressive title collection of the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo.”

With Mikkelsen absent, Marco Bulacia/Marcelo der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG) and Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov from Russia flew the ŠKODA flag in WRC2. Although competing for the first time on world level at the wheel of a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, Gryazin was on the pace right from the start. He reached the finish after 280 competitive kilometres second in the category. Similar to Andreas Mikkelsen, his Toksport WRT team mate Marco Bulacia was not eligible to score WRC2 points at RallyRACC Rally de España. Nevertheless, the 21 years old from Bolivia decided to compete to improve his tarmac driving skills. That strategy worked well, until the South-American crew had to retire their ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo after a minor off. However, Marco Bulacia still holds third overall in WRC2.

Meanwhile in WRC3, Emil Lindholm and co-driver Reeta Hämäläinen were the dominant crew. The 2021 Finnish Champions in the ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo of team Toksport WRT took the WRC3 lead right from the start. Winning seven of the 17 stages, they never really were challenged. Much more intense was the fight for runner-up position in the category. ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crew Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland and Pepe Lopez/Borja Rozada of Rally Team Spain repeatedly swapped that position. When the locals had to retire due to a technical issue on Sunday morning, 18 championship points for second plus five for winning the Powerstage finally went to Kajetanowicz. Going into the season’s finale, the ŠKODA driver from Poland is the points leader. As similar to WRC2 not all results are counting for the final score, the WRC3 title fight goes down to the wire at FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza.

In total four more ŠKODA crews made it into the top 10 of WRC3, led by 2019 FIA European Rally Champions Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (GBR/GBR) in fourth. With the support of ŠKODA Motorsport, 21 years old Dominik Stříteský and co-driver Jiří Hovorka competed their very first world championship round. After a strong start, the Czech talent had to retire after he rolled his Toksport WRT run ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo into a field.

With the WRC2 Driver’s championship already decided, two more titles races are still open until the season’s finale, FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza in Italy (19-21 November 2021). ŠKODA Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT fights for the WRC2 Team’s crown while Kajetan Kajetanowicz has the WRC3 Driver’s title in reach.

* subject to confirmation by the FIA

Top 3 WRC2 overall after 11 of 12 rallies

1. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 126 points
2. Mads Østberg (NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, 126 points
3. Marco Bulacia (BOL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 104 points

Result RallyRACC Rally de España (WRC3)

1. Lindholm/Hämäläinen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 2:44:31.9 hrs.
2. Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak, ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +28.5 sec.
3. McErlean/Fulton (IRL/IRL), Hyundai i20, +2:57.5 min.
4. Ingram/Whittock (GBR/GBR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +3:14.1 min.
5. Kremer/Kremer (GER/GER), Citroën C3 Rally2, +7:50.9 min.
6. Zaldivar/Del Barrio (PRY/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +9:04.9 min.

Top 3 WRC3 overall after 11 of 12 rallies

1. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 135 points
2. Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 127 points
3. Emil Lindholm (FIN), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 73 points

Number of the rally: 7
On their way to WRC3 victory, Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) from Finland won seven of the 17 stages.

2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)

Rallye Monte-Carlo 21 – 24 January
Arctic Rally Finland powered by CapitalBox 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
Renties Ypres Rally Belgium 13 – 15 August
EKO Acropolis Rally Greece 9 – 12 September
Secto Rally Finland 1 – 3 October
RallyRACC Rally de España 14 – 17 October
FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza 19 – 21 November