Mikko Heikkilä currently holds the tenth position in the sixth leg of the European Rally Championship as six special stages remain to be completed. This event, the ERC Rally di Roma Capitale, also marks Heikkilä's debut with the new Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 car.
Mikko Heikkilä, alongside his co-driver Samu Vaaleri, has been competing in the sixth leg of the ERC, Rally Rome di Capitale. The Racing Factory -driver holds tenth position overall after two days of competition. On the opening day, Heikkilä cautiously tackled the opening special stage in the heart of Rome, finishing 5.4 seconds behind the leading time. But on Saturday's morning loop, Heikkilä aimed to increase his pace, and after four stages, he stood in 13th place.
"It's still not easy to drive on tarmac, but it’s a good place to get more used to it. As expected, the top drivers are going extremely fast here. Let's just figure out how to improve our driving and adjust the car settings accordingly. And among the Finns, there's some good competition with (Lauri) Joona," Heikkilä shares his thoughts.
However, during the second loop, adjustments made to the car proved effective, and Heikkilä performed consistently well, securing a place in the top ten on all three afternoon stages. By the time the night halt arrived, Heikkilä had also climbed to the tenth position overall.
"In my opinion, the driving today was better, at least there was more effort. It helped a lot when we corrected the pace notes during the midday service. At the same time, we adjusted the car, and during the last two stages, the car felt comfortable. Our pace is not a happy surprise yet, but in no means a disaster either. Tomorrow, we'll push hard and try to avoid major mistakes," summarizes Heikkilä.
The first official race day of the ERC Rome also marked Heikkilä's first time driving the Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 car. The Michelin-driver expressed his satisfaction, especially with the engine's performance.
"I really like the low-end torque of the new car's engine. The new Skoda is also easy to handle. The drivability isn't much different from the old one, and the car is calm to drive," Heikkilä shares his feelings from behind the wheel of the new RS Rally2.
The ERC Rally di Roma Capitale concludes tomorrow, Sunday. The final day will feature six special stages and 85.52 kilometers of special stage action. The event can be followed on ERC+ with WRC+ credentials.
Rally di Roma Capitale overall standings after SS7/13:
1. Andrea Crugnola 1:01:31,8 Citroen C3 Rally2 ITA
2. Giandomenico Basso +20,2 Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 ITA
3. Yoann Bonato +23,7 Citroen C3 Rally2 FRA
4. Filip Mares +54,4 Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo CZE
5. Simone Campedelli +55,7 Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo ITA
10. Mikko Heikkilä +1:30,4 Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 FIN
Rally di Roma Capitale schedule - Sunday 30.7. – 85,52 km
07:51 SS8 – Fiuggi 1 – 6,72 km
08:51 SS9 – Alatri 1 – 6,96 km
10:16 SS10 – Santopadre 1 – 29,08 km
13:01 SS11 – Fiuggi 2 – 6,72 km
14:26 SS12 – Alatri 2 – 6,96 km
17:05 SS13 – Santopadre 2 – 29,08 km