Mikko Heikkilä’s bad luck continues in the ERC

Mikko Heikkilä's streak of bad luck continued in the ERC at the Estonian round during the third-to-last special stage.
Mikko Heikkila
Mikko Heikkilä. Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool
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The Finnish driver was battling Nikolay Gryazin for third place in the rally, but his Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 car took a hit on a jump. Apparently, the engine developed some sort of malfunction, causing Heikkilä to lose almost a minute to the fastest time.

“If I was lucky on the previous one that is the end of the luck for us. After the jump, I landed with full throttle, then the engine stopped. Nothing happened with the throttle, I switched the engine off and on again. I just came through slowly,” Heikkilä lamented.

Heikkilä dropped to seventh place in the standings. The Finn had already experienced bad luck in the season opener in Hungary when a tire came off while he was in a strong lead. He also lost a victory in the final moments in Portugal last year.

Leading the rally is Estonia’s Robert Virves. The Škoda driver is in a tight battle for the win against his compatriot Georg Linnamäe. Before the last two stages, Virves holds a slim 2.9-second lead.

“Some small changes [to the car] are needed. As much as I have heard, if this rain comes I don’t think there is too much difference between the car. It is not really good driving at the moment, it is tricky in the narrow parts. The grip is not where it should be,”, Virves summarised.

  • “I think we were a little bit too slow in the last part. Just a little bit too cautious, seems that when it is a little bit damp we could go off a bit,” said Linnamäe, who set the fastest time on the previous stage.

Gryazin maintains a safe margin in third place. Mads Østberg, also driving a Citroën like Gryazin, is more than half a minute behind the podium. In fifth place is Miko Marczyk, ahead of ERC leader Hayden Paddon and Heikkilä.

There are still two special stages left in the Estonian ERC rally.

Standings in the Estonian ERC rally after SS12/14:

1.Robert VirvesSkoda1:21:42.3
2. Georg LinnamäeToyota+2.9
3.Nikolay GryazinCitroen+32.7
4. Mads ØstbergCitroen+1:06.0
5. Miko MarczykSkoda+1:06,4
6.Hayden PaddonHyundai+1:15.0
7.Mikko HeikkiläToyota+1:22.5
8.Andrea MabelliniSkoda+1:55.7
9.Jon ArmstrongFord+1:56.7
10. Gregor JeetsToyota+2:05.6
11. Mathieu FranceschiSkoda+2:15.0
12. Teemu AsunmaaSkoda+2:32.6

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