WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Sat 22 Jul 2023

Masterful Mikkelsen controls WRC2 lead

Andreas Mikkelsen is in line to claim the second victory of his 2023 WRC2 campaign after controlling the Rally Estonia lead through Saturday’s penultimate leg.

The Norwegian inherited the top spot when Oliver Solberg retired on Friday and delivered a lead management masterclass to maintain the distance between himself and fellow Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 driver Sami Pajari.

Mikkelsen, who is yet to finish outside of the podium in his two starts so far this season, did not claim a single stage win yet did more than enough to head Pajari by 15.8 overnight, a relatively comfortable margin with only four stages remaining.

“It should be enough without anything happening,” Mikkelsen said of his buffer. “We just have to drive at a good pace tomorrow as well, but it's also nice because it keeps us in check for the Power Stage. We'll start tomorrow with a good push and see where we are.”

A consistent day from Emil Lindholm ensured he and co-driver Reeta Hämälainen remained third in the category on their Hyundai i20 N debut. They trailed Pajari by a sizeable 52.6sec but had 43.9sec worth of breathing space to Marco Bulacia behind.

Bulacia, who rolled in Thursday’s shakedown, started the day down in sixth but leapfrogged Ford Fiesta Rally2 ace Robert Virves in SS13. He climbed to fourth in the following test when Georg Linnamäe crashed his Hyundai and headed Virves by 11.9sec at close of play. Miko Marczyk completed the top six.

Alexander Villanueva seized the lead in the WRC Masters’ Cup, claiming the position when Mauro Miele rolled his Škoda not once, but twice in the morning loop. Miele was able to continue but now trails the Spaniard by more than five minutes.