› Gus Greensmith (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) needs a WRC2 victory at the FIA Rally World Championship’s eleventh round to close the gap to category leader Andreas Mikkelsen
› Toksport WRT’s Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) forego Rally Chile
› Youngsters Sami Pajari and Oliver Solberg, both competing with Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, are among the favourites for WRC2 victory at the Concepción-based event
Mladá Boleslav, 26 September 2023 – When Rally Chile (28 September-1 October) hits the gravel roads some 500 kilometres south of the country’s capital Santiago, current WRC2 overall leader Andreas Mikkelsen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) will be watching from the sidelines. The Norwegian did not nominate the eleventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship as one of his points-scoring events and will return for the Central European Rally in October. This leaves the door wide open for third-placed Gus Greensmith (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) to close the gap on Mikkelsen.
South American spring awaits the crews making the long trip to Chile and the eleventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Contrary to the expected relatively low temperatures, the fight for the WRC2 title will be hot on the gravel stages around the event’s host city Concepción. With current leader Andreas Mikkelsen (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) absent, the chasing pack has the chance to keep the title decision open at least until the following round, the Central European Rally.
The pressure is particularly high on current runner-up Yohan Rossel (Citroën), 16 points down on Mikkelsen, and third-placed Gus Greensmith (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2). “Only one win counts and I will go for it,” says Greensmith, who trails Toksport WRT teammate Mikkelsen by 28 points. Mathematically, Rossel could overtake Mikkelsen while Greensmith in the best case could equal the Norwegian: A maximum of 28 points is up for grabs in Chile for victory (25) and the fastest power stage time (3).
The fight for the title in the WRC2 Challenger sub-category is a race between two Škoda drivers: Kajetan Kajetanowicz from Poland, WRC2 winner at Safari Rally Kenya, and Finnish youngster Sami Pajari, who won WRC2 at his home event. Going into Rally Chile, both are equal on points (93). But Pajari has already scored at six events compared to Kajetanowicz’ four, making “Kajto” the favourite for the WRC2 Challenger crown.
On the other hand, Pajari certainly is one of the favourites for the overall WRC2 victory in Chile. The same goes for Oliver Solberg from Sweden, who also competes in a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 entered by team Toksport WRT. The 21-year-old son of former FIA World Rally Champion Petter Solberg has won WRC2 in Sweden and scored more fastest stages times than any other driver in WRC2 this season. But a run of bad luck has taken him out of the title race. Coming to Concepción, he sits in sixth position in the overall classification.
Rally Chile Bio Bió, as the event is officially known, consists of 16 smooth gravel stages covering a total of 321.06 kilometres. The rally starts on Thursday (28 September) at 7h00 pm local time in the city of Los Ángeles. On Friday, six special stages totalling 112.86 kilometres have to be mastered. Saturday is the longest leg of the rally with six special stages covering 154.08 kilometres. After another four stages and 54.12 kilometres against the clock on Sunday (1 October), the podium ceremony is scheduled for 3h20 pm.
Did you know, that…
...Rally Chile was only once before part of the FIA World Rally Championship and returns after a three-year break?
…back in 2019, future world champions Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen drove a Škoda Fabia Rally2 to victory in the WRC2 Pro category?
...Rally Chile this year is the only WRC round in South America?
...that the ceremonial start of Rally Chile takes place in Los Ángeles? Obviously, not California’s “City of Angels”.
Standings WRC2/Drivers (after ten rounds)
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Škoda, 108 points (from 5 rallies)
2 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 92 points (from 5 rallies)
3 Gus Greensmith (GBR), Škoda, 80 points (from 5 rallies)
4 Sami Pajari (FIN), Škoda, 71 points (from 6 rallies)
5 Adrien Fourmaux (FRA), Ford, 67 points (from 6 rallies)
6 Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda, 64 points (from 6 rallies)
7 Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), Škoda, 63 points (from 4 rallies)
Standings WRC2/Teams (after ten rounds)
1 Toksport WRT 3 (Škoda), 148 points (from 5 rallies)
2 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, 146 points (from 7 rallies)
3 Toksport WRT 2 (Škoda), 115 points (from 4 rallies)
4 Toksport WRT (Škoda), 110 points (from 3 rallies)
2023 FIA World Rally Championship
Rallye Monte-Carlo 19-22 January
Rally Sweden 9-12 February
Guanajuato Rally México 16-19 March
Croatia Rally 20-23 April
Rally de Portugal 11-14 May
Rally Italia Sardegna 1-4 June
Safari Rally Kenya 22-25 June
Rally Estonia 20-23 July
Rally Finland 3-6 August
Acropolis Rally Greece 7-10 September
Rally Chile 28 September-1 October
Central European Rally (CZE/AUT/DEU) 26-29 October
Rally Japan 16-19 November