Mikko Heikkilä sets out to gain a good amount of points from the ERC Poland. The return to gravel after the tarmac rally of Canary Islands is welcomed by the Finn. The fast stages of Poland suit the reigning Finnish Champion.
Mikko Heikkilä, 31, and his co-driver Samu Vaaleri, 26, set out for championship point hunt in the third round of the ERC in Poland this weekend. The Racing Factory driver is looking for the points missed on the opening round of the championship in Portugal, as the last-stage puncture dropped the Finn from the lead.
-Our goal is to drive flat out as fast as we can, so nothing out of the ordinary. It would be nice to get some decent points for once and finish the rally in a good position without any troubles. We’ll try to begin the season again after the first two rounds didn’t go to plan, Heikkilä said.
The upcoming 70th Orlen Rajd Polski is Heikkilä’s first time driving in Poland. Closest to Poland in Latvia, in which Heikkilä finished third last year.
-It’s nice to be back on gravel. The stages are super fast for the most part, and judging by the last year’s incar footage they are also quite narrow, mainly consisting of roads between fields with junctions here and there. The stages might have some ruts formed on the second pass with rocks visible, so avoiding punctures is the key here, Heikkilä explained.
Preparations for the third event of the championship started already before the trip to Poland, as three of the stages were mostly the same configuration in the last year’s event. The preparations also include testing.
-In addition to watching the last year’s stages from video, we are set to have a test session on Wednesday. It’s nice to be able to drive so quickly following the last event, which wasn’t our greatest event by far. The roads look very good, and there shouldn't be anything that wouldn’t suit me, Heikkilä said.
The third round of ERC, 79th Orlen Rajd Polski, can be spectated via ERC+ with WRC+ subscription.
Championship standings 2/8:
1. Hayden Paddon 58 NZL
2. Yoann Bonato 47 FRA 3. Efren Llarena 34 ESP
4. Mads Ostberg 24 NOR … 14. Mikko Heikkilä 11 FIN