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Mikko Heikkilä to open his competitive season with Arctic Lapland Rally with WRC Sweden to follow



Mikko Heikkilä will be competing in the Arctic Lapland Rally held in two weeks’ time in Rovaniemi. Making his return to FRC series event after a year on the European rallying arenas, Heikkilä will be wielding Toyota’s new GR Yaris Rally2. 2024 has also seen a change in co-driver, as pacenotes for Heikkilä will be read by Kristian Temonen.


Mikko Heikkilä begins his competitive season of 2024 with the traditional Arctic Lapland Rally held on the first weekend of February, with WRC Sweden to follow. Whilst Heikkilä co-drove the Finnish long-time rally driver Kari Kivenne in the opening round of the FRC, last time behind the wheel of a rally car at Rovaniemi was during his Finnish championship year in 2022.

 

-Since last year, we’ve made the switch to Toyota’s new GR Yaris Rally2 car. Also, my co-driver has changed, and Kristian Temonen, who was the co-driver of Juha Salo, joins me for this year. A few things have changed since last year, but we are looking forward to Arctic Lapland Rally. It’s always been a great rally overall, and this year acts nicely as a test rally for WRC Sweden, Heikkilä says.

 

Heikkilä, who ended last year with a win on Rally Ciudad de Granada, isn’t phased by the changes with machinery or co-driver. Instead, trust in both man and machine is high in the eve of the upcoming season.

 

-In terms co-driver, the changes aren’t massive. We’ve been busy doing pace note training, and we have a day of testing ahead of us. I believe our cooperation will begin seamlessly. When it comes to the car, sure there are some new things to be learned, but the difference is not groundbreaking. The Toyota has a steering wheel like any other car. Some small changes are to be expected, but the basic principles in driving are the same regardless of the manufacturer, Heikkilä explains.

 

Heikkilä will be competing the winter rallies in a team familiar to the Nurmijärvi-resident. Similar to last year, competing in the European Rally Championship is in the planner, with further details to be revealed. Heikkilä is grateful of all the support he’s received.

 

-We’ll be contesting Arctic and Sweden with our old Finnish Rally Championship team TGS’s car. We are familiar with the team, which always makes things a bit easier. We are aiming for the ERC again this year, even though as a series it’s not best suited for us due to the calendar consisting of five tarmac events and only three gravel rallies. A massive thank you for our cooperation partners for the support and making these rallies possible. It’s nice to be able to compete on the snow again, both in Finland and the neighbouring Sweden too, Heikkilä comments.


Photo: Hannu Rainamo

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