Mon 17 Apr 2023

Heikkila: don’t expect Fafe-style ERC heroics on Rally Islas Canarias

Mikko Heikkilä has played down his chances of a big result when the 2023 FIA European Rally Championship resumes on Gran Canaria’s testing Tarmac roads next month.

Heikkilä became the hero of Fafe after he fought for victory on the ERC season opener in northern Portugal in mid-March, dropping out of the lead on the final stage due to a damaged tyre.

But with his asphalt experience very much in its infancy, the reigning Finnish champion is keeping his feet firmly on the ground in terms of more Fafe-style heroics.

“If we were going to gravel for the next rally I would be confident [of a good result] but this rally will be a different story,” said the 31-year-old. “We are more or less learning and getting experience, so the most important thing is to finish the rally and make some improvement. But I am not expecting the kind of pace we had in Fafe. It would be a very big surprise for me if that did happen.”

The Racing Factory-run Heikkilä has three starts to his name on asphalt and will be a Rally Islas Canarias rookie when the event takes place from 4 - 6 May.

“All I know is about what I have been told by friends and the team and of course the onboards I watched from WRC+,” the Heikkilä. “I have driven three times on Tarmac, two times in Catalunya and once in Croatia and, to be honest, the experience hasn’t been so good. The pace has not been so high level so there is a lot to improve but it’s good to know there is something to do on Tarmac and it’s nice to have these Tarmac rallies in the championship and that I will have the chance to learn something.”

As part of his preparations, Heikkilä completed a one-day test in Portugal two weeks ago, where he covered 50 kilometres in his Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. He will also take part in the official Rally Islas Canarias test at the start of the rally week.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM