Heikkilä finishes on podium in ERC Liepaja

Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

Mikko Heikkilä has finished third in Tet Rally Liepaja. The fifth round of European Rally Championship ERC is Heikkilä’s career-second ERC rally.

Mikko Heikkilä, 30, along with his co-driver Samu Vaaleri, 24, have placed third in the fifth round of European Rally Championship ERC, Tet Rally Liepaja. The gap to leader was 1:11,6. Third place finish is the career best for Heikkilä in ERC.

Tet Rally Liepaja started with the morning loop’s three special stages. Heikkilä’s drove the ninth fastest time on the first stage of his career-second ERC rally. Followed by eightand sixth for the remainder of morning loop’s stages respectively, Heikkilä was running sixth overall by the time of noon service.

-It’s tough with the mixed road surface, but everything has been working fine so far and we’re in an OK position. We’ll push for the second leg.

Saturday continued with the afternoon leg in which the morning’s stages were driven again. Steady pace regardless of a suspected puncture as well as third fastest time on day-ending SS6 despite a half-spin made sure that the Finn tackles tomorrow’s stages from fourth position. Gap to leader is 38,4 seconds and third position is within a striking distance of 6,1 seconds.

-We hit a rock on SS4 and I was afraid we suffered a puncture. We eased off for a while before making sure the tire was OK. The last stage was great despite suffering a half-spin after around 10km. Yet we had a third fastest time on a vastly competitive field and we were on a similar pace with the fastest time on splits.

The last day of the event consisted of six special stages. Heikkilä was awake early and drove the second fastest times for all three of the morning’s stages. By the time of the midday service Heikkilä was running third with only 2,5 seconds from the second place.

-Now I’m running the pace I was looking for. Our pace was fine on the first two stages even though we lost a bit of time on the braking zones. The last one was really competitive. We’ll continue to push for P2.

On the last leg of the rally Heikkilä drove third and second fastest timesfor the stages 10 and 11 respectively. On the rally-ending Power Stage Heikkilä was ninth achieving a third place finish overall.

-On the last stage our pace felt good, but the time wasn’t up to my standards in the end. We’ll need to focus on the last-stage performance for the upcoming events. The result can surely be appreciated more with time, but now I’m feeling disappointed.

Heikkilä’s second ERC event and the second Rally Liepaja ended on the podium. Heikkilä wishes to thank his wide range of cooperation partners for the strong faith and support shown before and during the event.

-A big thank you to the team, car was working flawlessly the whole rally. Thank you to my cooperation partners for making this possible and for Pirelli, tires were working brilliantly and we could trust in the tire to find the grip needed.

Overall results of Tet Rally Liepaja:

1.Martins Sesks1:31:19,8 Skoda Fabia Rally2 EvoLVA
2.Efren Llarena1:32:30,71:10,9Skoda Fabia Rally2 EvoESP
3.Mikko Heikkilä1:32:31,41:11,6Skoda Fabia Rally2 EvoFIN
4.Ken Torn1:32:51,01:31,2Ford Fiesta Rally2EST
5.Gregor Jeets1:32:59,01:39,2Skoda Fabia Rally2 EvoEST

Words: Juho Koski / Mikko Heikkilä Racing communications

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