28 October 2013
Rally de Espana: Mikkelsen 'not dissatisfied', despite DNF
Andreas Mikkelsen suffers second retirement of season, but remains upbeat
Volkswagen Motorsport II driver Andreas Mikkelsen remained upbeat after Rally de Espana last weekend, even if he did fail to finish.
Mikkelsen was reunited with regular co-driver Mikko Markkula for the penultimate round in the 2013 World Rally Championship and finished Friday's night stages in sixth place overall, posting the third best time in SS3.
However, he didn't last long on the Saturday and in the first test of the day, the repeat-run through the 16.35 km Riudecanyes stage, he slid off in his Polo R WRC and a hit a big rock in a ditch. That broke the right rear suspension and while he was able to fix it, he didn't make it to the start of SS5 on time and had to retire.
Re-starting under the Rally 2 regulations on Sunday, when the action shifted from asphalt to gravel, the Norwegian made the most of his road position, and encouraging was quickest in SS10 and SS11. However in the end he had to retire again, pulling out prior to the final test.
“I wanted to give the team something back today [Sunday] and tried to perform as well as possible. I felt comfortable in the Polo R WRC right from the start this morning and adjusted to gravel really quickly,” Mikkelsen said. “Starting so far back certainly wasn't a disadvantage, but all that dust was.
“But we did a good job during the recce and I had a lot of confidence in the pace notes. Seeing your own name right at the top of the list of times twice is great, of course. On the third stage of the day, I slid off the road after a long right-hand bend that went into a sharp left-hand turn, [but we could continue].
“[Then] this afternoon, I wanted to go on the attack again, but I hit something on the straight. After that, the steering wheel was wonky.
"Later on, the suspension got damaged too, which is why we couldn't take part in the last Special Stage.
"Nevertheless, I'm not dissatisfied with Rally Spain,” he added.
Mikkelsen was also unsurprisingly delighted to see VW win clinch the Manufacturers': “Volkswagen are World Champions! I'm so pleased for the team – they've just been great this season. It's just a fantastic bunch of people,” he concluded.
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