SS10: Mikkelsen makes his move
Light rain and hill fog greeted competitors as the third leg of Wales Rally GB began and enormous crowds were still flooding into the first of four stages in the Dovey Forest complex as the action began.
Andreas Mikkelsen was fastest out of the blocks. The Norwegian was quickest over the gravel by 1.2sec in his Volkswagen Polo R and moved ahead of both Mads Ostberg and Evgeny Novikov into fourth place.
“I think we had an advantage running early on the road but it was a good start,” he said.
Team-mate and leader Sebastien Ogier was 1.2sec behind in second and he extended his advantage to 23.2sec over Jari-Matti Latvala. “I was a bit surprised by the grip, like everyone. It was better than yesterday, a good stage,” said the Frenchman as he headed off down the short road section to the Dyfi test.
Latvala was only fifth in his Polo R but the Finn had no dramas to report. “All OK, but too slow, too slow,” he explained.
Evgeny Novikov made a good start with third fastest. The Russian was 2.3sec behind Mikkelsen and 1.3sec ahead of Ford Fiesta RS colleague Thierry Neuville, who emerged relatively unscathed after a brush with a straw bale at a chicane.
“My braking was a bit too late. We planned to go faster though the chicane but it wasn’t possible. My door is damaged and we lost two or three seconds,” said the Belgian.
Behind Latvala was Mads Ostberg, but the Norwegian saw his advantage over Novikov slashed to just 1.1sec in the standings and he was far from happy.
“I had no rhythm. The pace notes were chaotic so we lost a lot. The car feels very good but it was a bad stage from inside the car. We need to do so some adjustments in the reading of the notes so I hope that will happen,” he said.
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