WRC Spain is Complete With Drivers’ Championship, as Toksport WRT Heads to Monza for Teams’ Title
For the penultimate round of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship, Toksport WRT crews lands in Catalonia with changes in roster. Drivers in WRC2 can only count their best six scores from seven nominated rallies. Mikkelsen has started six and will complete his season at FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza next month. So as planned, our WRC2 Drivers’ Championship leader skips the Spanish event. Unlike him, his Bolivian teammate Marco Bulacia will be racing; not to earn points but to gain experience on tarmac roads.
In WRC 3, Flying Finn Emil Lindholm has already started the maximum seven rallies and, as such, has entered the event as co-driver to Reeta Hämäläinen. The pair will swap seats before the start to enable Lindholm to drive within the WRC3 field, although he will not be eligible for championship points. Also Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin ALEKSANDROV will be debuting a Toksport-prepared Škoda Fabia Rally2 and Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock rejoining us. Aside from the championship regulars and rising stars, 49-year-old Brit Neil Simpson is about to make his dream of competing on the world stage come true.
Another addition to our lineup will be 21 years old Czech talent Dominik Stříteský as he will make his WRC debut in WRC3 at Spanish WRC round. Stříteský finished second in the two-wheel drive category in his debut full season in the Czech championship in 2020. He stepped up to the four-wheel drive Fabia this year and is fourth in the standings, with a best result of second at Rally Bohemia.
As we mentioned before, Marco Bulacia decided to compete to improve his tarmac driving skills and improve relations with his co-driver Marcelo der Ohannesian. That strategy worked well, until the South-American crew had to retire after a minor off. However, Marco Bulacia still holds third overall in WRC2. But with his Toksport prepared car, Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin ALEKSANDROV reached the finish line in second place in WRC2.
But things were interesting in WRC. The 2021 Finnish Champions Emil Lindholm and Reeta Hämäläinen were very fast and consistent through stages, ended the first loop just 5.1sec in front of their closest challenger. They went pedal to the metal after the midday service to stretch their lead further. Back-to-back stage wins at Vilaplana 2 and La Granadella 2 left their rivals behind and he completed the day with a 14.9 second advantage.
Loose gravel pulled onto the roads made life difficult for all the crews, but Lindholm showed no signs of backing off. After the impressive performance day before, the Finn steered his Škoda Fabia Rally2 to four more stage wins. He arrived back at service in Salou having more than doubled his advantage to 31.4sec over Kajetan Kajetanowicz. He kept going until he won the WRC 3 category.
But the best was yet to come. Andreas Mikkelsen wrapped up the drivers’ title without even starting the event. The Norwegian had planned to end his season at FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza next month, but as neither Østberg nor Teemu Suninen scored enough points to catch him, the title was decided earlier than expected.
“It’s super weird to suddenly become champion,” Mikkelsen said from the Salou service park. “It’s really nice now to go to Monza without any pressure and just go for it.”
But the season is far from over as we are heading to Italy for Rally Monza to defend our Teams’ Champions title.