Mon 22 Jan 2024

Yaris ahoy! Heikkilä targets ERC action with all-new Toyota

Mikko Heikkilä is planning to unleash Toyota’s all-new GR Yaris Rally2 on the FIA European Rally Championship in 2024.

The ERC podium finisher and stage winner will tackle winter events in his native Finland and then in Sweden before switching his focus to the ERC, which begins with the all-gravel V Rally Hungary from 12 - 14 April.  


Heikkilä, the 2022 Finnish champion, has recruited Kristian Temonen for co-driving duties in 2024 and is preparing to start his new adventure on the Finnish championship-counting Arctic Lapland Rally from 1- 3 February. That will be followed by an outing on Sweden’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship from 15 - 18 February.  


“Since last year, we’ve made the switch to Toyota’s new GR Yaris Rally2,” 32-year-old Heikkilä explained. “Also, my co-driver has changed, and Kristian Temonen, who was the co-driver of Juha Salo, joins me for this year.



“In terms of the co-driver, the changes aren’t massive. We’ve been busy doing pacenote 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 ground-breaking. Some small changes are to be expected, but the basic principles in driving are the same.”   Heikkilä, who finished the 2023 season on a high by winning Rally Ciudad de Granada in Spain last October alongside former co-driver Samu Vaaleri, will join the Finnish TGS squad for his early season events.  


“We’ll be contesting Arctic and Sweden with our old Finnish Rally Championship team TGS’s car,” he said. “We are familiar with the team, which always makes things a bit easier. We are aiming for the ERC again this year and a massive thank you for our 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.”


Portrait phoots: Hannu Rainamo (middle) and Bruno Penas (bottom)

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