Sat 15 Jun 2024

Heikkilä and Franceschi locked in close ERC podium fight

While Oliver Solberg and Hayden Paddon continue their epic fight for victory on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia, the chase for third place remains just as intense with Mikko Heikkilä and Mathieu Franceschi 4.4sec apart heading into the final two stages of Saturday’s morning loop.

Frenchman Franceshi, the FIA European Rally Championship points leader, began day two 4.2sec behind his fellow Michelin-equipped driver. He closed that gap to 3.6.sec by outpacing Finn Heikkilä through the day-opening Ölme test, only for Heikkilä to hit back by 0.8sec on SS11, which leaves a divide of 4.4sec between the battling pair.  

“Very, very fun we had, the car feels perfect,” Toyota driver Heikkilä said after SS11. “Really, really nice stage but at the end it was really slippery and I was too much sideways.”  

Škoda-powered Franceschi added: “This stage was demanding a lot with a lot of speed, 20 kilometres for nine minutes. The last two kilometres was really slippery and you can have a mistake really easily but it was not so bad.”  

Mārtiṇš Sesks dropped out of the top-five fight when his Toyota stalled twice in quick succession in sight of the SS10 finish. “I don’t know what’s happening, the car just stalled under braking,” the dejected Team MRF Tyres driver said after he lost almost 20sec and slipped from fifth to eighth.   

In the chase for the outright victory, Solberg has inched 7.0sec ahead of Paddon. SS12, Ängebäckstorp, is up next from 09:17 CET.

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