As expected, Vodafone Rally de Portugal provided lots of action not only in the overall classification, but as well in the support category WRC3. Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen in Toksport WRT’s ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo led WRC3 briefly during leg 1. But the Finns were thrown down the order by two punctures. For the next couple of stages, it was up to Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Szczepaniak to chase WRC3 interim leaders Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria from France. And so the Polish ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crew did, taking command of WRC3 on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, a spin from Kajetanowicz caused a change of positions again. At the end of the second leg, only 3.0 seconds separated the French from the Polish crew on top of the standings. The gap to third placed 2019 FIA European Rally Champion Chris Ingram and co-driver Ross Whittock, sharing a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo of team SXM Competition, stood at nearly one minute.
With the last leg underway, Kajetan Kajetanowicz left no doubt, that second in WRC3 was not enough for him. He started into Sunday trading WRC3 stage wins with ŠKODA brand mate Chris Ingram and eventually overtook Yohan Rossel. Once in the lead, Kajetanowicz and co-driver Szczepaniak held on to this position, repeating WRC3 victory from last month’s Rally Croatia. With this success, Kajetan Kajetanowicz advanced to second overall in the WRC3 standings. Ingram/Whittock followed in third position, scoring their first ever WRC3 podium. Emil Lindholm/Reeta Hämäläinen at least finished the event on a high, posting fastest WRC3 time in the rally ending Powerstage.
WRC2 overall leaders Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene of ŠKODA Motorsport supported team Toksport WRT missed Vodafone Rally de Portugal because Mikkelsen was tested COVID-19 just before the event. Their teammates Marco Bulacia (BOL) and co-driver Marcelo Der Ohannesian (ARG) showed a solid performance. The South-American ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crew finished sixth in the category.
The next round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes the teams to the Mediterranean for Rally Italia Sardegna (3 – 6 June). Then, Mikkelsen/Fløene are expected to be back in action, provided that Mikkelsen has fully recovered from corona and is cleared by the authorities.
Result Vodafone Rally de Portugal (WRC2)
1. Lappi/Ferm (FIN/FIN), VW Polo GTI, 3:48:03.4 hrs.
2. Suninen/Markkula (FIN/FIN), Ford Fiesta Rally2 Mk2, +1:42.8 min.
3. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, +2:24.3 min.
4. Gryazin/Aleksandrov (RAF/RAF), VW Polo GTI, +2:58.6 min.
5. Solberg/Johnston (SWE/IRL), Hyundai i20, +3:13.5 min.
6. Bulacia/Der Ohannesian (BOL/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +4:41.6 min.
Championship Standings WRC2/Drivers (after 4 rounds)
1. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 68 points
2. Esapekka Lappi (FIN), VW Polo GTI, 59 points
3. Marco Bulacia (BOL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 45 points
Result Vodafone Rally de Portugal (WRC3)
1. Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 3:52:49.7 hrs.
2. Rossel/Coria (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +5.6 sec.
3. Ingram/Whittock (GBR/GBR), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +55.3 sec.
4. Ciamin/Roche (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +1:31.5 min.
5. Josh McErlean/Keaton Williams (IRL/GB), Hyundai i20, + 4:10.8 min.
6. Fabrizio Zaldivar/Carlos del Barrio (PAR/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +5:07.7 min.
Championship Standings WRC3/Drivers (after 4 rounds)
1. Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 70 points
2. Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 56 points
3. Nicolas Ciamin (FRA), Citroën C3 Rally2, 49 points
Number of the rally: 5.6
ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo crew Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland and Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria repeatedly changed the leading position in WRC3. In the end, Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak beat their French opponents by the small margin of 5.6 seconds.
2021 FIA World Rally Championship
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
Acropolis Rally Greece 9 – 12 September
Rally Finland 30 September – 3 October
RallyRACC Rally de España 14 – 17 October
Rally Japan 11 –14 November