SS8: Punctures slow Mikkelsen, Wilks
Dropping them out of the top five
A disastrous eighth stage has dropped Andreas Mikkelsen and Guy Wilks out of contention for victory on Barum Czech Rally Zlín after they both picked up rear punctures.
Mikkelsen, who was a strong second before the stage, reported his deflation occurred 15 kilometres into the 28.69-kilometre test.
After stopping to change the damaged tyre, the ŠKODA UK Motorsport driver is now 1m54.3s off the lead of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge event. “I have no clue where it came from,” said Mikkelsen.
Wilks started the stage in fifth overall but has slipped outside of the top 10 as a result of his delay. “It was my fault completely,” said Wilks. “There was a little bit of gravel and I was pushing on because the car was not behaving as much as I wanted it to. I knew I would haemorrhage time but I was trying to stem the flow. But I slid wide and hit the back wheel.”
Freddy Loix and Jan Kopecký were equal fastest through the stage in their ŠKODA Fabias. It means Kopecký’s lead is now 21.3s over team-mate and new second-placed driver Juho Hänninen, who endured a troubled stage, stalling his engine in a gravel section and suffering a front-left puncture nearing the end of the run.
Hänninen is 1.4s ahead of Bryan Bouffier, who reported the stage being “very slippery”, while Loix has closed to within 0.2s of Bouffier.
Thierry Neuville has moved up to fifth in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207. “We tried to get a good rhythm but with our crash we lost a little bit the power of the engine so the mechanics will need to repair it in service,” said Neuville.
PG Andersson went into a field after overshooting a square-right junction in his PROTON Motorsports Satria Neo S2000. He has slipped behind Roman Kresta in the overall standings as a result.
|1||Kopecký Jan / Starý Petr||Škoda Fabia S2000||1h07m57.7s|
|2||Hänninen Juho / Markkula Mikko||Škoda Fabia S2000||+21.3s|
|3||Bouffier Bryan / Panseri Xavier||Peugeot 207 S2000||+22.7s|
|4||Loix Freddy / Miclotte F.||Škoda Fabia S2000||+22.9s|
|5||Neuville T. / Gilsoul Nicolas||Peugeot 207 S2000||+1m43.0s|
|6||Mikkelsen Andreas / Floene Ola||Škoda Fabia S2000||+1m54.3s|
|7||Gardemeister T. / Suominen Tapio||Škoda Fabia S2000||+2m13.6s|
|8||Breen Craig / Roberts Gareth||Ford Fiesta S2000||+2m25.2s|
|9||Kresta Roman / Gross Petr||Škoda Fabia S2000||+2m35.4s|
|10||Andersson P. / Axelsson Emil||Proton Satria Neo S2000||+2m38.4s|
|11||Sołowow Michal / Baran Maciej||Ford Fiesta S2000||+2m52.1s|
|12||Kruuda Karl / Järveoja M.||Škoda Fabia S2000||+2m57.6s|
|13||Wilks Guy / Pugh Phil||Peugeot 207 S2000||+3m04.5s|
|14||Sandell Patrik / Parmander S.||Škoda Fabia S2000||+3m11.3s|
|15||Odložilík R. / Tureček Martin||Škoda Fabia S2000||+3m24.6s|