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Finnish Champion Mikko Heikkilä takes the next step by contesting in ERC in 2023

27.01.2023 / Juho Koski / Mikko Heikkilä Racing communications

Mikko Heikkilä will be competing in the ERC the following season. Driving for the Portuguese team The Racing Factory, the decision to compete in ERC is the next step forward for the reigning Finnish champion. Heikkilä will be competing with Skoda Fabia in the upcoming season.

Mikko Heikkilä, 31, will be contesting the European Rally Championship (ERC) 2023 season with The Racing Factory team. Fresh off his Finnish Rally Championship title-winning year, Heikkilä is eager to contest a full season of ERC. Last year’s taste of ERC with third in Rally Liepaja promises pace to be reckoned with from the Finn.

- It feels amazing to be finally announcing our next step forward. I’ve been asked about our plans for 2023 a few times already, so it’s good to take the next step. We’ll continue with Samu Vaaleri as my co-driver, we were off to a great start last year and we work greatly together, Heikkilä says.

Partnering with the Finn is Portuguese team The Racing Factory. Established in 2018, the team has strong knowledge of ERC finishing 3rd among European teams in 2019. Along with their experience, the facilities based in Sao Paio de Oleiros impressed Heikkilä. Car brand of choice will be Skoda Rally2, as in the Finnish championship.

- I’ve visited their facilities, and everything had a professional look and touch to it. I’m looking forward to working with them. We’ll continue with Skoda, probably the season opener still with the older spec Fabia Rally2 Evo but upgrading into the new Fabia RS Rally2 during the season. As for our tires, we’ll be trusting Michelin beginning this season, explains Heikkilä.

The CEO at The Racing Factory, Aloisio Monteiro, is clear when it comes to this new partnership with Heikkilä:

- It is with great satisfaction that we welcome Mikko and Samu to our team and we will make sure that all the needed conditions are fulfilled for the maximum success. The goal is the start working together and turn this partnership into victories. Mikko was our first choice; we had been watching his latest results and progress so the first contact with him was natural. We are very happy with this new project, and we will work hard to get the best results with him.

With an eight-round calendar, ERC will be contested both on gravel and tarmac. With three WRC events worth of experience from Spain and Croatia, Heikkilä recognises the goal for both surfaces.

- We’ll drive as fast as we can as we normally do, and of course competing for podiums and wins on gravel is the main goal. On tarmac I think we need more kilometres and experience in order to master it, but ERC luckily has good amount of tarmac rallies. We’ll be starting off a bit easier and then increase our pace once we’ve found the rhythm. Heikkilä is eagerly anticipating for the season opener, contested from 11th to 12th of March in Portugal. The reigning Finnish champion wishes to extend his gratitude for those making the step to ERC possible.

- A big thank you even before the start of the season for everyone who made this possible, both my own cooperation partners as well as The Racing Factory. We’re here to win and gain ground in the European Championship, Heikkilä thanks.

The plans for Heikkilä with The Racing Factory don’t stop in the ERC.

- Our target is to work hard on the ERC for 2023 and 2024, but our main goal is to help Mikko grow as a driver with enormous potential and go for the WRC in 2025! says Monteiro.

Photo: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

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Calendar 2024

1) 12.-13.1. SM Auto Sorsa Riihimäki-Ralli, Riihimäki
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3) 8.-9.3. SM Tuuri Ralli, Alavus
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