Wed 19 Jan 2022

Mikkelsen tops star-studded WRC2 entry at season opener

Reigning WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen will kick off his title defence this week at Rallye Monte-Carlo (20 - 23 January).

The Norwegian returns to the series for a second year and tops a bumper entry featuring no less than 20 cars. With an eclectic mix of familiar faces and new blood, spectacular action is guaranteed.

Mikkelsen had hoped to be driving a hybrid-powered Rally1 car following his 2021 success, however, a lack of available seats mean he will once again drive a ŠKODA Fabia Rally2 car for the Toksport team. 

He hopes to repeat last year’s Monte-Carlo result when he finished an incredible seventh overall on the way to the category win. 

“I think this is a great step towards the road to be fully back in the [main] WRC in 2023,” explained Mikkelsen. “I have one aim, and that is to completely dominate every rally that I am doing. 

“I want to lay the foundation for defending the title with another WRC2 victory. Of course, I also want to finish as high up in the overall standings as possible again,” he added.

Joining Mikkelsen in the Toksport camp are young hotshots Marco Bulacia and Nikolay Gryazin. Both will drive identical Fabia cars and are eligible for WRC2 Junior honours as they are under 30-years-old. 

Yohan Rossel is the highest-seeded Frenchman. The 26-year-old clinched the WRC3 title last season with his Citroën C3 Rally2 and will definitely be one to watch this year. 

Rossel will need to keep an eye on his mirrors, as fellow compatriots Eric Camilli and Stéphane Lefebvre are starting right behind in similar Citroëns. Both drivers have previous experience in the WRC’s top tier and know what it takes to win in Monte-Carlo. 

Briton Chris Ingram is another driver making the step up to WRC2 in a Toksport-prepared ŠKODA, whilst Sean Johnston has entered a Citroën. Czech youngster Erik Cais will drive a Ford Fiesta Rally2, and Grégoire Munster completes the leading entries in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2.

Further down the order, former works driver Freddy Loix is making his first WRC start since 2004. The Belgian will drive a Fabia and has plenty of experience in the French Alps. If the weather takes a turn, don’t rule him out.

• Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo is 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.

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