Leading the field away will be Andreas Mikkelsen, who stated at the beginning of the season he wants to dominate the WRC2 category on every single rally he does.
The Toksport Škoda Fabia pilot claimed a convincing victory at last month’s Rallye Monte-Carlo but will have to fend off stiffer competition here in Rovaniemi to achieve a similar feat.
Mikkelsen will be supported by team-mate Eyvind Brynildsen on a one-off entry in his similar car. The Norwegian was called up after last-minute visa issues prevented Marco Bulacia from travelling to the event.
“Drifting over ice and snow in an all-wheel-drive car is the dream of every rally driver. But I know exactly how tough it will be to win the WRC2 category in Rovaniemi. Lots of top drivers, especially Esapekka Lappi, will make my life really difficult,” explained Mikkelsen
M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Adrien Fourmaux will sport a striking new Red Bull livery on the superfast stages. It was announced earlier this week he will make his World Rally Car debut at Rally Croatia, but for now, the objective is to halt Mikkelsen’s early charge in WRC2.
“My 2021 season started well at Rallye Monte-Carlo with second place in WRC2. Now the aim is to be in the mix for victory once again at this week’s Arctic Rally Finland, where I continue my WRC2 campaign with the support of Red Bull and M-Sport in a strong partnership,” explained the Frenchman.
Esapekka Lappi will begin his rally comeback after leaving M-Sport Ford’s top flight team at the end of last year. The Finn will pilot a Movisport-prepared Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on home territory and will be one of the favourites for victory this weekend.
“I realise the competition is very high also in this category, it will not be an easy job. There are so many good drivers in WRC2 at the moment. It will be a big challenge and big competition I believe, but my target is to win,” he said.
American star Sean Johnston wheels out his Citroën C3 Rally2 once again on his debut season in the category, whilst 2020 WRC3 champion Jari Huttunen campaigns a Hyundai i20 R5 along with team-mate Ole Christian Veiby in a similar car.
Flying youngster Nikolay Gryazin joins Lappi in the Movisport camp, whilst WRC2 debutante Georg Linnamaë also gets in on the action. Both will drive Polo cars.
Martin Prokop makes a welcome return to the WRC four months on from his last top-flight appearance at Rally Italia Sardegna. The popular Czech will drive for M-Sport Ford in a Fiesta Rally2.
- Full coverage from Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.