SS16-17: Mikkelsen grabs second from Ogier
Championship leader relegated to third
Andreas Mikkelsen snatched second from Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier after winning Sunday morning’s opening two speed tests at Vodafone Rally de Portugal.
The Norwegian eclipsed Ogier by 8.8sec in Vieira do Minho to overturn the 3.5sec deficit and then pulled further clear after topping the times in the legendary Fafe special stage. He was 2.4sec faster to build an 8.1sec advantage with two stages remaining.
Mikkelsen believed he could have been even quicker through Vieira do Minho which was damp after overnight rain. “I tried to drive like yesterday but I didn’t take advantage of the grip in places which was really good. I was too careful, I’ll try to be more aggressive.”
A heavy landing in his Polo R over the famous jump near the finish of Fafe indicated he achieved that. “It was a clean stage but a nose-heavy landing over the last jump wasn’t so nice. The jumps here seem a bit different this year,” he added.
Ogier completed the opening stage with a front right puncture in his Polo R and that compromised his pace through Fafe as the Frenchman carried just one spare in the car.
“I can’t afford another puncture because I have no more spare. I can’t go completely flat out anymore so I tried to do a clean drive here,” he said.
Leader Kris Meeke was third in both tests behind the duelling Volkswagens, leaving his lead at 35.5sec over Mikkelsen.
“I drove cautiously in the first one. I have time in my pocket so I’ll use it. It would have been easy to get caught out, but the grip in Fafe was more consistent. I have 35sec in hand so I just have to bring it home now,” he explained.
Valeriy Gorban retired after a heavy landing in Fafe broke the front right suspension on his Mini John Cooper.
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