Wed 19 Jul 2023

WRC2 fight wide open as Solberg tops Estonia entry

The fight for this year’s WRC2 title couldn’t be more finely balanced as the season enters its second half – and the stakes are about to be raised further at Rally Estonia (20 - 23 July).

Oliver Solberg headlines a 20-car entry in the premier support category at this week’s rapid gravel fixture. With points leader Yohan Rossel absent from competition and Toksport star Gus Greensmith opting not to count Estonia as a points-scoring rally, a strong result would elevate Škoda Fabia RS man Solberg to the top of the championship standings.

Solberg starts the four-day fixture on fine form having won ERC Royal Rally of Scandinavia a fortnight ago. But he won’t be having it all his way, with the likes of flying Finns Emil Lindholm and Sami Pajari both serious contenders for victory.  

Reigning champion Lindholm is debuting a works-supported Hyundai i20 N, jumping ship from a Škoda he previously drove alongside Pajari in the Toksport camp.

“It’s a new team and a new car, and it’s already feeling impressive so I’m confident going to Estonia,” said Lindholm, who is co-driven by Reeta Hämäläinen. “The target for the weekend is to enjoy the car, enjoy the roads and do our best. I believe we have everything we need to achieve a podium.”

While some silverware would be nice for Fabia RS driver Andreas Mikkelsen, the Norwegian has his eyes on a bigger prize - a potential return to the WRC’s top level. He won his last outing at Rally Italia Sardegna and makes his third start of the season.

“This is a good way to keep myself in the minds of the teams,” he explained. “Like I said before, I know the teams are looking for younger drivers and the next generation, but we have seen times when they want to bring in a driver with experience who can score points.”

Among the bumper entry list are local hopefuls Egon Kaur (Škoda Fabia RS), Robert Virves (Ford Fiesta) and Georg Linnamäe (Hyundai i20 N), all of whom will be frontline contenders. Alexander Villanueva, hailing from Spain, heads the WRC Masters Cup runners.

Rally Route: Estonia 2023
Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM