WRC – Škoda privateer Lindholm in fight for victory – Solberg holds third at Škoda debut
With one more stage to go at Rally Sweden (13/02/–16/02/2020), the battle for the victory in the WRC3 category is becoming more and more tense. Driving a private Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen had been leading until stage 7. They reached the leg’s finish in second and go into Sundays final stage with a deficit of only 3.4 seconds to the category leader. For Oliver Solberg (SWE) and co-driver Aaron Johnston (IRL), Rally Sweden marks the start of their 2020 WRC3 campaign in a Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, run in a cooperation between Solberg’s own team and Škoda Motorsport. The two youngsters hold third place after two days of competition.
The 2020 edition of Rally Sweden is facing unseasonal warm weather and a lack of snow in the Värmland region of Sweden and across the border in Norway. Therefore, the itinerary of the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship was cut down to only nine stages. On Saturday morning, the temperatures began to raise even more. The remaining snow and ice on the four stages, which all had been driven on Friday already, became more and more slushy.
On the morning’s first stage, Škoda youngster Oliver Solberg was fully awake, set the fastest WRC3 time with his Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo and was on top of that second quickest in the field of Rally2 cars. “I am happy with the setup changes we made overnight, the car feels really great,” he said. And he continued to impress, moving up to third position of the WRC3 category one stage later. At the end of the Saturday leg, Oliver Solberg had secured a 1.1 second gap to former FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen) in fourth.
The Finnish Škoda privateers Emil Lindholm/Mikael Korhonen (Škoda FABIA Rally2 evo) were leading the WRC3 category until stage 7. But by the end of the Saturday leg, they were trailing the Hyundai crew Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (FIN/FIN) by 3.4 seconds. Škoda’s former WRC2 Champion Pontus Tidemand, who is competing together with co-driver Patrick Barth in a privately entered Škoda FABIA Rally2 evo, could defend the third position in the WRC2 category.
One pass over the 21.9 kilometres long Likenas TV Wolf Power Stage stage will complete the event on Sunday, before the winning crew will be celebrated at the service park in Torsby.
Standings Rally Sweden after Day 3 (WRC2 and WRC3)
1. Huttunen/Lukka (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 Rally2, 1:04:18.0 h.*
2. Lindholm/Korhonen (FIN/FIN), Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, +3.4 sec.*
3. Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, +5.9 sec.
4. Veiby/Andersson (NOR/SWE), Hyundai i20 Rally2, +21.7 sec.
5. Solberg/Johnston (SWE/IRL), Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, +31.5 sec.*
6. Kristoffersson/Skjærmoen (SWE/NOR), Volkswagen Polo GTI Rally2, +32.6 sec.*
7. Tidemand/Barth (SWE/SWE), Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, +36.3 sec.
8. Pietarinen/Anttila (FIN/FIN), Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo, +53.0 sec.*
*Crews eligible to score points in the WRC3 category
Number of the day: 9
Due to unseasonal warm weather and a lack of snow in the Värmland region of Sweden and across the border in Norway, the itinerary of the Rally Sweden was shortened to nine stages only
Press release Škoda Motorsport