Technical troubles forced Heikkilä to retire from the lead in Rallye Granada – the Finn finished the day with Super Rally rules

Photo: Felix Trigueros

Mikko Heikkilä has finished ninth after retiring briefly due to a technical issue in the Rallye Ciudad de Granada, a part of Spanish gravel rally cup. Heikkilä was leading the rally with almost 40 seconds before retiring and the 10-minute time penalty associated with the super rally rules.

Mikko Heikkilä, 30, and his co-driver Samu Vaaleri, 24, have finished ninth due to Super rally rules after briefly retiring from technical issue on SS6. Heikkilä, competing with C.D. Plemar Sport’s Fabia R5, was leading the event with a 37,8 second margin after five special stages.  

– The symptoms were similar to what we suffered in Kuopio, in other words we lost our throttle. Luckily the troubles hit us at the super special in the city rather than in the forests. We got the car back to service and back on the stages with super rally rules. Shame we can’t compete for the win anymore, but these things happen.

Heikkilä continued the event from SS7 and drove the whole length of the rally apart from the short super special stage 6. Super rally rules carried a 10-minute time penalty with them, which meant that Heikkilä finished the event in ninth place. Of the stages Heikkilä contested, the Skoda driver won six.

– The remainder of the stages after our retirement went well and we won a few stages more. On the second to last we had a spin, but other than that we drove through without issues and started to get a hang of things on these roads. We weren’t really pushing yet, but fast enough for it to be enjoyable. We also had a lot of valuable experience from a bit rougher roads than back in Finland, or many other places in Europe for that. Overall it was really nice to be able to practise driving and pace note making here. Thank you for everyone who made it possible.

Heikkilä’s competitive year of 2022 ended on the mountain roads of Granada but the sights have already been set for year 2023. Current year’s highlights included winning the Finnish Rally Championship as well as a third-place finish in the ERC Liepaja. The Finn’s plans for the next year aren’t sealed yet.

– A massive thank you for all our cooperation partners, the TGS team and everyone who’s been cheering us for the year 2022. The year was good in the end, even though we had some difficult events as well. Next year we’ll continue, but we will announce our exact plans in due time.

Unofficial overall results after 10/10 stages:

1. Joan Roma Cararach 1:04:46,8 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 ESP
2. Juan Carlos Quintana Gonzalez +29,1 Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo ESP
3. Daniel Alonso Villaron +32,8 Citroen C3 Rally2 ESP
4. Rodrigo Zeballos Aguirre +1:39,1 Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo URY
5. Jose Luis Garcia Molina +2:16,8 Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo ESP

9. Mikko Heikkilä +8:21,7 Skoda Fabia R5 FIN

Words: Juho Koski / Mikko Heikkilä Racing communications

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