Back to Winning in Estonia With Double Podium
The first half of the FIA World Rally Championship 2021 had caused mixed emotions for Andreas Mikkelsen. After a strong start with category victory at Rallye Monte Carlo and a second place at Arctic Rally Finland, Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene were hit by misfortune in recent events. Even these incidents may have slowed their progress, they are still leading the WRC2 drivers’ and co-drivers’ classification nevertheless.
Mikkelsen commented: “I finished second overall in 2019, when the rally was held as a promotional event. I missed to drive the event last year when it was a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time. I cannot wait to return to the fantastic gravel stages and the enthusiastic rally fans.”
With the start of the rally, competition was intense. Only 6.2 seconds separating him and Mads Østberg after the morning loop of leg 1. Mikkelsen and co-driver Fløene survived a major moment, when their cars landed heavily on its nose after a jump. But that wouldn’t stop our crew. They picked up the lead and on Saturday evening, Mikkelsen was still 25.9 seconds in front of the pack. After a controlled and faultless ride on the final day of the Rally, he won at the end with a margin of 16.7 seconds.
“First of all, a big thank you to Toksport and Škoda for providing the car. It’s been absolutely perfect all weekend. We came into this rally really well-prepared, so I am very happy to give the team the result they deserve. It couldn’t be better,” he added.
Marco Bulacia/Marcelo Der Ohannesian delivered a good performance on the fast Estonian gravel roads. On the first stage of final day of the rally, they briefly went off the road, lost seven seconds and the third position in the WRC2 category. One stage later, our duo fought back and climbed back to the third place up to the finish.
Our 20-year-old driver, who only started in the sport in 2018, registered his first WRC2 stage wins of the season at this month’s Tartu-based fixture and finished third, less than 30sec behind race winning team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. Reflecting on his fifth start of the season, Bulacia said: “We have shown good pace here, winning stages and then missing out on maximum Power Stage points by just four tenths. I’m happy with the podium and the points for the championship.” Bulacia also praised his Fabia which worked well on the fast stages.
“The car,” he added, “was perfect from the beginning. The team did a great job, so we worked a bit more because we were fighting with [Adrien] Fourmaux. It was a good fight – but a shame that he went off just before the Power Stage. But this result does give me a lot of confidence for the future. I have beaten these big boys on some stages, so I’m very happy with this. And we have to continue in this way in the next races.”
Bulacia and Mikkelsen will skip the next WRC round at Renties Ypres Rally Belgium (13 – 15 August) and start Acropolis Rally Greece (9 – 12 September) as their next round.