Has Oliver Solberg secured the ERC rally victory? Heikkilä and Franceschi in a tough battle

Oliver Solberg leads the Royal Rally of Scandinavia by 13.7 seconds with only four special stages remaining.
Mikko Heikkilä
Mikko Heikkilä. Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool
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New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon has put up a strong fight against the Swede but hasn’t quite been able to match Solberg, who set the fastest times on all four stages of Saturday morning’s loop.

“I’m surprised, I was so slow at the end, it is so tricky. The beginning was good, I was pushing and it is a beautiful stage,” Solberg summarized.

“We don’t have an answer for [Solberg] at the moment, the car is not working with the low grip and there is no confidence in the car at all. Hopefully the grip might come to us and help us a little bit,” Paddon remarked.

In third place is Toyota’s Mikko Heikkilä, 26.4 seconds behind the leader. However, Heikkilä needs to be cautious as ERC leader Mathieu Franceschi is only 5.7 seconds behind the Finn.

“I just told my co-driver that I am not happy at all, we were way too careful in the beginning. We started to go quite wide on the lines and stopped too much,” Heikkilä lamented.

Norwegian Frank Tore Larsen is in fifth place, but his gap to the lead is already over a minute. Mads Østberg is half a second behind his compatriot. Also in the top eight are Martins Sesks and Isak Reiersen.

The Swedish ERC rally has four special stages remaining after the service break.

Royal Rally of Scandinavia standings after SS13/17:

1. Oliver SolbergSkoda1:07:17.0
2.Hayden PaddonHyundai+13.7
3.Mikko HeikkiläToyota+26.4
4. Mathieu FranceschiSkoda+32.1
5.Frank Tore LarsenVW+1:11.0
6.Mads Østberg Citroen+1:11.5
7.Martins SesksToyota+1:12.4
8.Isak ReiersenSkoda+1:21.1
9.Miko MarczykSkoda+1:39.5
10.Andrea MabelliniSkoda+1:48.2
11.Eyvind BrynildsenVW+1:48.3
12.Jon ArmstrongFord+2:03.6

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