SS14-15: Mikkelsen refuses to concede
The see-saw battle for victory at 72nd LOTOS Rally Poland between leader Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen took another twist as the Norwegian closed the gap in Saturday afternoon’s opening action.
Following the cancellation of the Mazury test (SS14), Mikkelsen was fastest through Wieliczki. He sliced 1.4sec from Ogier’s advantage to leave the margin between the two Volkswagen Polo R cars at 5.8sec.
The cancellation did little to help Mikkelsen’s pursuit. He opted for Michelin’s hard compound rubber in the scorching temperatures, hoping their durability would favour him against Ogier’s mix of hard and soft rubber. But he needed every kilometre to count to benefit from their endurance.
“I hoped for the loop to be as long as possible to get the advantage but the cancellation ruined that plan. We have one more proper stage before the super special, so let’s see what we can do,” said Mikkelsen.
The fight for third between Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala also continued unabated. A rejuvenated Latvala was third, 0.6sec ahead of Tänak’s Ford Fiesta RS, to relegate the Estonian to fourth by half a second.
Hayden Paddon was second quickest in Hyundai’s i20 to consolidate fifth from team-mate Thierry Neuville. The gap increased to 15.1sec.
Mazury was cancelled for safety reasons due to large crowds. Organisers said too many fans did not respond to instructions from the safety crew, and to guarantee the safety of spectators and competitors the test was scrubbed.
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