Wed 13 Jul 2022

Pressure builds on WRC2 star Mikkelsen in Estonia

Andreas Mikkelsen’s WRC2 title defence is on the rocks as he bids for a strong result Rally Estonia this week (14 - 17 July).

The Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo driver needs a strong result if he is to keep his title hopes afloat after engine problems sidelined him in Portugal and Italy. Mikkelsen had been leading both rallies before the retirements. 

Drivers in WRC2 can count their best six results from seven starts. That means, regardless of how the remainder of the season plays out, the Norwegian driver will have to carry at least one non-score.  

Although Mikkelsen drove Škoda’s Fabia RS Rally2 as course car at Rally Bohemia last weekend, the brand-new machine won’t make its WRC debut until later this year. Instead, his Toksport team has worked on the reliability of his current steed. 

“I am confident in the team and I believe they have solved the issue we had in the last couple of rallies,” Mikkelsen told “I hope the car will be reliable this time, and it’s only up to Torstein [Eriksen, co-driver] and I to deliver a good result.

“The pressure is high after our two DNFs and it really means that, for the rest of our rallies, we can not have any mistakes. Our jokers are used and we have to try to aim for the top spot. That’s definitely our aim this weekend,” he added.

A bumper entry of 19 cars feature in the championship’s premier support category. Among those hoping for a slice of glory is Pole Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who moved into the championship lead when he steered his Fabia to the Safari Rally Kenya win. 

Hyundai Motorsport’s Teemu Suninen showed strong pace with his i20 N Rally2 in Portugal and Italy, but dramas at both rounds denied the Finn of any points. Former WRC rally winner Hayden Paddon fields a privately-entered i20, as does Josh McErlean.

Egon Kaur and Georg Linnamäe head up the local charge in a pair of Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 cars. Kaur finished fourth on his last outing in Sweden, while Linnämae’s Rally Italia Sardegna ended in a crash. 

Also driving Toksport Škodas are Emil Lindholm and Marco Bulacia, while Jari Huttunen flies the flag for M-Sport Ford in a Fiesta Rally2. It will be the Finn’s last event in the car before he switches to a top-tier Puma for his home rally. 

Other entries include Gregor Jeets and Miko Marczyk in Fabia cars as well as Sean Johnston - the sole Citroën C3 Rally2 entrant. 

• Full coverage from Rally Estonia 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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