› 22-year-old Oliver Solberg consolidate third position in the WRC2 overall standings after the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
› Robert Virves and co-driver Aleks Lesk (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) from Estonia also finish on the WRC2 podium.
› Three Škoda crews on the WRC Masters Cup podium.

Mikołajki (POL), 30 June 2024 – Toksport WRT’s Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) recovered from seventh to second position in WRC2 at Rally Poland. Finishing third, Estonian crew Robert Virves/Aleks Lesk (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) deliver their best ever WRC2 result.

With WRC2 overall leader Yohan Rossel and runner-up Jan Solans not competing, third-placed Oliver Solberg had to start first of all WRC2 competitors. Not surprisingly, he was suffering most from loose gravel on the racing lines. He finished the Friday leg in seventh position, trailing category leader Sami Pajari by 33.2 seconds. “It’s been an incredibly tricky day being first WRC2 car on the road. I didn’t expect to be so far down. There is a big gap,“ the 22-year-old Swede summed up the first leg. But he still had confidence. „We have closed much bigger gaps in the past. We will do the same here,” he said.

Best-placed Škoda crew at Friday’s finish were Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak. The Polish pairing competing for team RaceSeven held second position in WRC2, just 8.9 seconds off leaders Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen. Toksport WRT’s Josh McErlean/James Fulton followed in third a further 13.3 seconds down.

The Saturday went much better for Oliver Solberg and co-driver Elliott Edmondson. Now seventh in the WRC2 running order, the Swedish-British pairing climbed to second position in WRC2 until the day’s finish. In contrast, overnight second placed crew Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak didn’t make it to the end of the Saturday leg. The defending WRC2 Challenger champions had to retire after their Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 suffered some damage during a brief off-road excursion. “Kajto” explained: “We went off, hit something and broke the suspension. These things happen when you are pushing.”

At the days finish, Solberg/Edmondson trailed WRC2 leaders still by 26.3 seconds. At this point, Robert Virves and co-driver Aleks Lesk from Estonia had moved up to third position WRC2. With Josh McErlean/James Fulton in fourth and Pierre-Louis Loubet/Loris Pascaud in fifth, two more Škoda crews were in contention for a podium position.

Although less than eleven kilometres long, the rally-ending power stage changed the WRC2 classification significantly. Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov, until then third of the category, lost nearly 20 seconds due to a puncture. At the same time, Estonian Škoda crew Robert Virves and co-driver Aleks Lesk drove through the stage 4.1 seconds faster as Georg Linnamäe/James Morgan. With this fastest time of the category, Virves/Lesk advanced to the last position on the WRC2 podium – with a margin of 0.6 seconds.

The top two positions with Pajari/Mälkönen as WRC2 winners and Solberg/Edmondson as second were undisputed. “First of all, it is very important for the championship, although I’m not happy at all. But the team has done a great job“, Solberg commented.

The WRC Masters Cup podium featured three Škoda crews. Armin Kremer und co-driving daughter Ella Kremer (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing) from Germany won from local heroes Michał Sołowow/Maciej Baran (Printsport) and Ricardo Triviño/Diego Fuentes Vega (Electrolit Racing Team) from Mexico.

Next WRC2 event is newcomer Rally Latvia (18-21 July 2024).

Number of the rally: 11
Škoda crews won eleven of the events actually run 17 stages in the WRC2 classification. Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson were fastest four times. Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak topped the time sheets three times. The remaining four fastest WRC2 times were scored by Robert Virves/Aleks Lesk and Mikołaj Marczyk/Szymon Gospodarczyk, with two each.

Rally Poland, 27 – 30 June 2024, Result WRC2
1 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (FIN/FIN), Toyota GR Yaris Rally2, 2:40:58.3 hours
2 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (SWE/GBR), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +22.0 seconds
3 Robert Virves/Aleks Lesk (EST/EST), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +1:23.3 minutes
4 Georg Linnamäe/James Morgan (EST/GBR), Toyota GR Yaris Rally2, +1:23.9 minutes
5 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Loris Pascaud (FRA/FRA), Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, +1:26.9 minutes
6 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (BGR/ANA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +1:32.1 minutes

Standings WRC2/Drivers (after 7 of 13 events)
1 Yohan Rossel (FRA), Citroën, 71 points (from 4 events)
2 Sami Pajari (FIN), Toyota, 68 Points (from 4 events)
3 Oliver Solberg (SWE), Škoda, 61 points (from 4 events)