Fri 23 Dec 2022

Season Review: WRC2

Emil Lindholm was crowned as a worthy champion in WRC2 Open. The Finn held his nerve through an up and down year, but delivered a peerless podium performance to clinch the biggest title of his life at FORUM8 Rally Japan.

If anything, Lindholm’s Toksport Škoda arrived from the blind side, with his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen having made much of the early running. The Norwegian had a look of invincibility about him after winning Rallye Monte-Carlo and the subsequent round in Sweden.

After skipping Croatia, normal service was expected to be resumed in Portugal, only for his Fabia to fall foul of an engine problem. Worse was to come when the issue returned to halt Mikkelsen’s Škoda for the second time in as many events in Sardinia.

Back-to-back wins in Croatia and Portugal moved Citroën’s Yohan Rossel to the top of the table, but that was as good as it would get for the Frenchman who slipped to fourth by the season’s end.

As the second half of the year progressed, Lindholm and Kajetan Kajetanowicz emerged as the genuine title contenders - the latter’s campaign bolstered by a class win at Safari Rally Kenya.

A win and a second place in Estonia and Belgium ensured Mikkelsen remained at the forefront, but he knew he needed a win in Acropolis to make up for two DNFs. Sadly for him, the Greek outing went awry on the opening stage when he understeered into a concrete barrier and damaged the left-front corner of the Fabia.

All that remained for him was a nerve-jangling wait in Europe while the title and his season-long fate was decided in the Far East.

Three points ahead of Lindholm, Kajetanowicz started the Aichi event in the box seat, only to let it slip when he crashed at the exit of the tunnel on the Isegami stage.

Lindholm set his Škoda in the middle of the road and left it there, taking the most conservative course through the next two days. The title was waiting for him and his popular co-driver Reeta Hämäläinen at the finish.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM