Mikko Heikkilä is gearing up for the fifth round of the European Rally Championship, the Royal Rally of Scandinavia, set to take place this weekend. The Skoda driver had a successful day of testing before the competition.
Mikko Heikkilä, 31, accompanied by his co-driver Samu Vaaleri, 26, will compete in the upcoming round of the European Rally Championship, the ERC Royal Rally of Scandinavia, this weekend. The duo will once again be behind the wheel of The Racing Factory's Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. This marks the Finnish driver's first race across the border in Sweden.
"I've never driven in Sweden before, but the scenery and road surface seem similar to Finland, and based on the stage videos, the stages appear to be of a similar nature. It'll be interesting to see during the reconnaissance how the stages actually play out. I believe we're in for an enjoyable route," analyzed Heikkilä.
Having tested his car on the Tuesday preceding the race, Heikkilä approaches the final gravel event of the season with confidence, thanks to successful tests leading up to the main competition.
"The car feels good, and we have a couple of setup options. We'll have to assess the route and decide which ones to implement. I can say that for the first time this year the test day went really well," revealed Heikkilä.
The Swedish special stages resemble those in Finland, which naturally suits last year's Finnish champion excellently. Heikkilä’s eyes, whilst set on a win, are also looking out for the possibility for rain during the rally.
"Finnish roads have always suited me well, and naturally, I have the most experience there. The competition will be tough, both from the drivers within the championship and the visiting rivals. The weather forecast predicts rain, which will certainly affect our choice of starting position if we manage to excel in the qualifying stage," reflected Heikkilä on his prospects.
ERC Royal Rally of Scandinavia is set to be driven from Thursday the 6th of July to Saturday 8th of July. The rally consists of 16 special stages and 182,60 special stage kilometres. The rally is broadcasted live at ERC+ -service, which is accessible with WRC+ subscription.
12:00 Free Practice 4,43 km
14:05 Qualifying – Bäck-Hult 4,43 km
Friday 7.7. – 106,18 km
09:19 SS1 – Ölme 1 8,09 km
10:05 SS2 – Lungsund 1 20,20 km
10:58 SS3 – Ängebäckstorp 1 14,76 km
11:47 SS4 – Mölnbacka 1 10,04 km
14:26 SS5 – Ölme 2 8,09 km
15:12 SS6 – Lungsund 2 20,20 km
16:05 SS7 – Ängebäckstorp 2 14,76 km
16:54 SS8 – Mölnbacka 2 10,04 km
Saturday 8.7. – 76,42 km
07:23 SS9 – Tomten 1 8,29 km
08:08 SS10 – Tolita 1 9,52 km
08:59 SS11 – Gårdsjö 1 11,39 km
10:05 SS12 – Collins 1 9,01 km
13:23 SS13 – Tomten 2 8,29 km
14:08 SS14 – Tolita 2 9,52 km
14:59 SS15 – Gårdsjö 2 11,39 km
16:50 SS16 – Collins 2 9,01 km (Power Stage)
Championship standings 4/8:
1. Hayden Paddon 113 NZL
2. Martins Sesks 83 LVA
3. Mads Östberg 69 NOR
4. Efren Llarena 50 ESP
5. Mathieu Franceschi 50 FRA
7. Mikko Heikkilä 45 FIN