Back to Back Wins From Toksport In WRC2
After winning the category at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen finished in the top spot at the second WRC round in Sweden as well. There were 22 WRC2 cars attending the rally and as Toksport WRT, we serviced five of them. Our lineup for Rally Sweden 2021 included current WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen – Torstein Eriksen, Marco Bulacia – Marcelo der Ohannesian, Nikolay Gryazin – Konstantin Aleksandrov, Emil LINDHOLM – Reeta HÄMÄLÄINEN and newcomers in our team; Bruno Bulacia – Marc Marti.
Last year’s snow and ice fixture was Arctic Rally Finland after Rally Sweden was canceled due to Covid-19. Arctic Rally Finland was a struggle for the defending champion as he battled set-up issues throughout the event. But this time recent testing mileage has enabled the Norwegian to develop a brand-new set-up on his Škoda Fabia Rally2.
Andreas Mikkelsen started the championship’s only proper winter rally cautiously. “I am trying not to take any risks – it’s too early to go flat-out and it’s very easy to make a mistake. We are trying to be clever and drive at a good pace,” he commented. But soon after our crew changed their strategy and increased the pace. And it worked. After the end of the Friday leg, Mikkelsen – Eriksen had conquered the category lead with an advantage of 4.1 seconds.
Nikolay Gryazin – Konstantin Aleksandrov followed in third, at that point leading the WRC2 Juniors’ classification. They defended that position until Sunday morning. But during the penultimate stage, their ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo ended up in a snow bank. Unfortunately, similar incidents costed two more cars of our own: Emil Lindholm – Reeta Hämäläinen and Bruno Bulacia – Marc Marti. Emil Lindholm rolled his Fabia on SS2, whilst Marco Bulacia suffered a similar fate later in the day at Kamsjön.
Mikkelsen and Eriksen extended their lead, in the end winning by 23.2 seconds. “It’s been one of my best fights. Ole Christian has been doing a great rally. I know he has worked super hard over the last twelve months, so I am really happy for him to come here and deliver such a good result,” he said after winning the rally.
While WRC2 regular Marco Bulacia experienced bad luck, his 19 years young brother Bruno enjoyed his first ever WRC event to the fullest, despite the incidents . With the help of his experienced co-driver Marc Marti, formerly co-driver to Carlos Sainz and Dani Sordo, Bulacia finished the rally in 9th position in WRC2.
After ice and snow covered roads during Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, the FIA World Rally Championship next switches to pure asphalt. Next on the calendar is Rally Croatia (21-24 April 2022).