Sunday | 12 Sep 2021

WRC2: Mikkelsen pips team-mate on final day

A flawless drive on the final day enabled Norwegian star Andreas Mikkelsen to seal victory in WRC2 at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece.

Mikkelsen spent most of the event locked into a dicing duel with fellow Toksport Škoda Fabia Rally2 driver Marco Bulacia. 

Bulacia was 5.4sec up after Friday’s opening leg, but relinquished the lead on Saturday morning. However, a massive charge at Eleftherohori moved the Bolivian back in front by just 0.8sec heading into the final day. 

When Sunday came around, it was Mikkelsen who had the upper hand. Without taking risks, his pace was unmatched and he reclaimed top spot on the stages west of Lamia. 

A fastest time in Tarzan was followed by another in Pyrgos and Mikkelsen topped off the weekend with a clean Wolf Power Stage run to end 16.7sec clear.

"We drove very clever and haven't hit one stone all weekend, so I am very happy with my performance,” said Mikkelsen, who now leads the series by 22 points with three rounds remaining. 

He also paid tribute to new co-driver Elliott Edmondson, adding: “Elliott has done an amazing job jumping straight in this weekend. It's an amazing team result.”

Bulacia was also delighted with his performance and, despite missing out on maximum points, moved to second in the standings.

“I am very pleased with our job this weekend. It was my first time here and we showed that we had a good pace and we brought the car safely home,” said the 20-year-old. 

Nikolay Gryazin enjoyed a troublefree drive in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 debut to end 4min 45.0sec behind in third. He will return to his usual Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 car at Secto Automotive Rally Finland next month.  

Georg Linnamäe also debuted a new steed, swapping his Polo for a Fabia. The Estonian steered clear of drama and finished 1min 17.0sec adrift of the podium. M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 stalwart Martin Prokop was 3min 0.7sec behind after suffering two punctures on Friday. 

Sean Johnston trailed the leaders by 9min 27.6sec to complete the top six. It was the Citroën C3 Rally2 driver’s first rally since he crashed heavily at Rally Estonia in July and he was just glad to get a finish.

Mads Østberg’s title tilt was thrown into oblivion when a transmission fault left his C3 in rear-wheel-drive on Friday. After retiring later in the day, he rejoined on Saturday but stopped again with mechanical issues. 

Hyundai i20 N Rally2 hotshot Oliver Solberg also had a rally to forget. The Swede went OTL after stopping to repair suspension damage in SS4 and then stopped for good after crashing into a rock face on Saturday. 

 

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