More drama on the final stage of the ERC rally! Championship leader crashes out, Hayden Paddon loses second place to Mikko Heikkilä

Oliver Solberg has won the Royal Rally of Scandinavia for the second consecutive time.
Oliver Solberg. Photo: Redbull Content Pool
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Solberg ultimately won the race by a significant margin after New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon suffered a puncture on the final stage. Solberg took the victory with a 38-second lead over Finnish driver Mikko Heikkilä.

“It is an amazing feeling. A lot of pressure going into the weekend, you want to win again after last year. Yesterday was a terrible feeling but today was good control, good speed and a relief,” Solberg said.

Paddon was solidly in second place before the last special stage, but unfortunately, things went awry.

“We’ve given away way too many points this year,” Paddon said briefly.

The final stage of the Royal Rally of Scandinavia also provided drama. ERC leader Mathieu Franceschi went off the road and retired from fourth place. The French driver was battling Mikko Heikkilä for third place, being just over three seconds behind the Finn before the final stage.

Heikkilä ultimately secured second place and celebrated his first podium of the season in the ERC.

“It feels really nice to be honest, after a very difficult period of rally for me it feels like win. Sorry for Franceschi. It’s a very tough event, I don’t blame myself at all that we couldn’t match the speed of Solberg and Paddon, they are really professional drivers. Big thank you to the team, the setup was perfect and everything went really well.” Heikkilä summed up.

Heikkilä was close to winning an ERC rally last year in Portugal, but a puncture forced him to settle for a lower position. The same fate befell him earlier this season in Hungary.

Due to Franceschi’s crash, Frank Tore Larsen, driving a Volkswagen, moved up to fourth place. Mads Østberg finished fifth, ahead of Martins Sesks and Isak Reiersen.

Despite his retirement, Franceschi remains at the top of the ERC standings. However, Paddon is now tied with him on points (56). Simone Tempestini is in third place, 16 points behind the leaders.

The ERC season continues in Estonia at the end of July.

Final results of the Royal Rally of Scandinavia:

1. Oliver SolbergSkoda1.32.40,8
2.Mikko HeikkiläToyota+38,0
3.Hayden PaddonToyota+51,0
4. Frank Tore LarsenVW+1.28,7
5.Mads ØstbergCitroen+1.33,8
6.Martins SesksToyota+1.41,7
7.Isak ReiersenSkoda+1.52,0
8.Miko MarczykSkoda+2.09,7
9.Andrea MabelliniSkoda+2.32,8
10.Simone TempestiniSkoda+3.02,0
11.Johan KristofferssonVW+3.02,5

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