Thu 02 Jun 2022

Title chasers Mikkelsen and Rossel renew WRC2 battle in Italy

Leading drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and Yohan Rossel will continue their fight for WRC2 honours at Rally Italia Sardegna this week (2 - 5 June).

Mikkelsen tops a scorching 36-car entry list for the Mediterranean fixture, which gets underway on Thursday in the north-west city of Olbia. 

The Norwegian has two rally wins to his name already but will be looking for vengeance after an engine failure on his Toksport-run Škoda Fabia Rally2 forced him into retirement while leading Vodafone Rally de Portugal two weeks ago. 

Mikkelsen finished third overall here in 2020 - at the time driving an i20 World Rally car for Hyundai - but failed to finish last season due to roll cage damage sustained in an early Friday roll. 

“Sardinia is always a difficult rally with quite tricky stages,” Mikkelsen told WRC.com. “It's more narrow and slippery than Portugal, but I feel comfortable and always perform quite well here, even though we have retired quite a few times. 

“The feeling is good and we have a new engine in the car, so we should be set to have everything working well and to fight for another victory - that's definitely the plan,” he added. 

Rossel will be Mikkelsen’s main rival in his Citroën C3 Rally2. The Frenchman now leads by 10 points after pinching a late Portugal win at the expense of Teemu Suninen, who crashed on the Wolf Power Stage. 

Suninen will once again steer a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 and will also be one to watch for the leading category honours.

Nikolay Gryazin and Marco Bulacia field another pair of Toksport cars, while Erik Cais and Jari Huttunen have entered Fiesta Rally2 machines, the latter being run by British squad M-Sport Ford. 

There are also a number of young stars hoping to find themselves in the battle for WRC2 Junior glory. They include Jan Solans in a Citroën plus Škoda duo Chris Ingram and Miko Marczyk, who were the frontrunning hotshots last time out. 

Other leading entries include Polo pair Georg Linnamäe and Eerik Pietarinen as well as WRC2 debutant and reigning FIA Junior WRC champion Sami Pajari in a Fabia. Josh McErlean and Fabrizio Zaldivar also feature in Hyundai cars. 

We’re set for another tight scrap in WRC2 Masters, with entries from Portugal winner Jean-Michel Raoux (Hyundai) as well as Freddy Loix and Armin Kremer in Škodas. 

  • Full coverage from Rally Italia Sardegna 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.
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