2022 Season Starts With Monte Carlo Win
Toksport WRT is back on stages in 2022 to not just to repeat 2020 Teams’ Championship and 2021 Drivers’ Championship, but to combine both in a single season. With a win from season opener Rallye Monte Carlo, we are looking forward to that.
Aiming to repeat his 2021 WRC2 victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Andreas Mikkelsen paired with Torstein Eriksen. Chris Ingram and Ross Whittock was returning with Fabia Rally2 evo, joining Marco Bulacia and Marcelo der Ohannesian. Also our contender last year Nikolay Gryazin, as driving our fourth Fabia alongside Konstantin Aleksandrov.
While the stages on Thursday and Friday were basically completely dry there were snowy and icy surprises for crews. This made tyre selection tricky. The reigning WRC2 Champion made an interesting creative tyre choice. He left the service with four slicks mounted and two studded tires in the back. Like all top drivers, Mikkelsen chose a so-called cross-over configuration for the Saint-Geniez/Thoard stage: one slick and one studded tyre on front and rear axle. “The handling is a bit strange,” Mikkelsen commented. “But it’s ok on the dry tarmac and the studs give me the necessary safety on the icy parts.”
The Saturday leg finally brought back typical “Monte” conditions. Despite having to change a punctured wheel during the day’s last stage, the Norwegian crew managed to establish a 22.4 seconds lead going into the final leg on Sunday. Thanks to a speedy swap by him and debuting co-driver Torstein Eriksen, the pair retained a healthy lead which they carried through Sunday’s final leg. They kept their heads down, and eventually, won the rally with 55.4 seconds.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season,” smiled Mikkelsen. “Torstein has done so well from the first stage and I am so happy. There were very tricky conditions still, but we managed it quite well,” he added.
Marco Bulacia and Marcelo Der Ohannesian, unfortunately were not lucky. They had to retire from WRC2 third overall with a technical issue in 12th stage. But on the other hand, Nikolay Gryazin and Chris Ingram are back in the WRC2 points hunt. Gryazin and Aleksandrov managed to climb on the third step of the podium and gain important points.