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Heikkilä returns to ERC podium with 2nd place in Sweden


Mikko Heikkilä has finished second in the third round of the ERC, the Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia. The trouble-free rally was rewarded with a fantastic podium.

 

Mikko Heikkilä and co-driver Kristian Temonen have finished second in the Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia. Second place finish marks Heikkilä’s first podium with the Italian team Step Five Motorsport in ERC. Despite being within a touching distance of ERC podiums and wins before, the success in Sweden marks Heikkilä’s first podium since ERC Latvia in 2022. The occasion also means that Kristian Temonen scores his first ERC podium.

 

-It’s nice to drive a rally with no issues again. Everything worked perfectly; team, car, tires, everything worked so well. Besides two slight issues with the pop-off valve, we had a trouble-free rally, and our pace was dictated by my own pace. Also the tightest rally I’ve ever driven, the margins were always zero point something, and we had to push at 100% all the time, Heikkilä told at the finish.

 

Heikkilä started the event carefully on the super special stage by finishing 16th. Strong stage times on Friday elevated the Finn to third after the midday’s service. During Friday and Saturday, Heikkilä secured third overall in the rally with narrow margins. On the rally-ending Power Stage, Heikkilä was elevated to second by 13 seconds after Hayden Paddon, running 2nd at the time, unfortunately suffered a puncture.

 

-If it was up to me, we should have finished third. I don’t care much for last stage punctures at all, and I feel sorry for Hayden, and for Mathieu Franceschi too for what happened in the last stage. It’s no shame to be third fastest behind Oliver (Solberg) and Hayden, they are both world-class drivers, and Oliver was also driving on his home roads, Heikkilä said.

 

Heikkilä, who made the switch for the then-new Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 for this season, tested diligently before the event, and the hard work paid off. Heikkilä is already anticipating the next round of the championship, ERC Estonia, as well as his home rally, WRC Finland.

 

-The car was flawless and finally it felt like I could push it how fast I ever wanted to. A big thank you to Toyota engineers Felix, Lewis, Steffan, and Owen, they helped us out a lot for this rally. A massive thanks to Step Five Motorsport for the car and Michelin for tires, everything played out perfectly on their part, as well as all my cooperation partners for making this possible, Heikkilä thanked.

 

Mikko Heikkilä’s ERC season continues with ERC Estonia from 5th to 7th on July, while the Finn is next time seen behind the wheel of the Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 in the fourth round of Italian Gravel Rally Championship, 52nd San Marino Rally, in 21st to 22nd of June. 

 

Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia results 

 

1. Oliver Solberg 1:32:40,8 Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 SWE

2. Mikko Heikkilä +38,0 Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 FIN

3. Hayden Paddon +51,0 Hyundai i20 N Rally2 NZL

4. Frank Tore Larsen +1:28,7 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 NOR

5. Mads Ostberg +1:33,8 Citroen C3 Rally2 NOR

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