› Toksport WRT youngsters Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson go head to head with WRC2 Champion Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen at the FIA World Rally Championship’s eighth round
› After already two WRC2 wins this season, Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) score points only for Toksport WRT in the WRC2 Teams’ Championship
› Nearly two thirds of the crews registered in the 24 cars strong WRC2 field rely on the Škoda Fabia
Mladá Boleslav, 19 July 2023 – Youngster versus former WRC2 Champion – the duel between 21-year-old Oliver Solberg from Sweden and 2021 category winner Andreas Mikkelsen from Norway fuels the fight for WRC2 victory at Rally Estonia (20-23 July). Both already have one category win under their belts this season. Other Škoda drivers to watch among the 24 entries strong WRC2 field are Sami Pajari from Finland, Marco Bulacia from Bolivia and Mikołaj Marczyk from Poland.
With the upcoming Rally Estonia (20-23 July), the FIA World Rally Championship enters the second half of the season. Of the past seven rounds, five times the winning crew in WRC2 category was relying on a Škoda Fabia. Two victories went to Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (GBR/SWE). Their Toksport WRT team mates Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Torstein Eriksen (NOR/NOR) as well as ORLEN Rally Team’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL) bagged one category win each. Kajetanowicz and also current WRC2 overall leader Yohan Rossel are not competing in Estonia. And Greensmith didn’t nominate the Baltic round as one of his maximum seven points scoring events. So, the Briton will collect points for the team only.
That leaves Oliver Solberg and Andreas Mikkelsen as Škoda’s main hopefuls for WRC2 victory. “After my last minute win at the recent Rally Italia Sardinia, I will try to add another one. I won WRC2 in Estonia already twice in the past two years – I really like the fast gravel stages,” says Mikkelsen. After an impressive performance at Safari Rally Kenya, Solberg is also confident: “Like Andreas, I love the smooth and fast Estonian gravel stages. I am absolutely looking forward to a nice fight with him and the other strong competitors in WRC2.” High on Solberg’s watch list: his Toksport WRT team mates Sami Pajari from Finland and Marco Bulacia from Bolivia plus ORLEN Rally Team’s Mikołaj Marczyk from Poland.
In the WRC Masters Cup field, the sub-category reserved for drivers aged 50 and over, three of the current top six are present, all of them at the wheels of Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. Second overall Alexander Villanueva from Spain faces German Armin Kremer and last year’s champion Mauro Miele from Italy. Kremer, WRC Masters Cup winner at the recent Safari Rally Kenya, brings back his daughter Ella into the co-driver’s seat for this occasion.
Rally Estonia, which is run on smooth and fast gravel, offers 21 special stages over a total of 300.42 kilometres. A short show stage on the streets of host city Tartu kicks off the action on Thursday evening (20 July). The podium ceremony is scheduled for Sunday (23 July) at 16h30 local time.
Did you know, that...
...Rally Estonia hosted a round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time three years ago?
...the history of Rally Estonia can be traced back to the 1960s? But the event, which eventually became a round of the FIA World Rally Championship, was founded in 2010.
...rallying is one of the most popular sports in the country and Rally Estonia is the biggest motorsport event in the Baltic States?
Standings WRC2/Drivers (before Rally Estonia)
1 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 77 points (from 4 rallies)
2 Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda, 64 points (from 4 rallies)
3 Gus Greensmith (GBR), Škoda, 62 points (from 3 rallies)
6 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Škoda, 42 points (from 2 rallies)
Standings WRC2/Teams (before Rally Estonia)
1 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, 91 points
2 Toksport WRT (Škoda), 80 points
3 Hyundai Motorsport N, 73 points
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