SS17: Mikkelsen spins out of fourth
Dyfnant 2 21.34km
The battle for fourth place on Wales Rally GB took a dramatic turn on Sunday’s opening test when Andreas Mikkelsen, who held the position overnight, spun his Volkswagen and dropped to fifth.
The Norwegian began the stage with a 7.3sec advantage over fellow countryman Mads Ostberg in fifth, but the spin, close to the flying finish, meant the pair swapped places, with Mikkelsen trailing his rival by 1.2sec.
Arriving at the control with no visible damage to his Polo R, Mikkelsen insisted the battle with Ostberg was not over, and he hadn’t ruled out catching Thierry Neuville in third either.
“I basically had a spin and lost 10 seconds. Okay, it’s a shame, but the game is still on,” he said.
Ostberg was second fastest through the repeated test, in conditions that were damp and muddy after overnight rain. “It’s a good start, the car is working well,” he said.
Rally leader Sebastien Ogier was the stage winner, to maintain a 20sec gap over his Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in second.
Neuville was fourth fastest, to remain relatively comfortable in third, but was judging his pace on instinct alone.
“We still have no radio and no split times, so I have no choice but to go flat-out because we don’t know the speed of our rivals. On these roads we could easily lose 10 seconds,” he said.
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