Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen set the pace this morning in the shakedown for Wales Rally GB, the 2014 WRC season finale.

Mikkelsen posted the marker on his third and penultimate pass through the muddy 3.32 km Clocaenog test, completing it in 2 minutes 0.1 seconds, leaving him 0.3 seconds up on team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala. Ogier did just two runs, while Latvala, like Mikkelsen, opted for four.

"The shakedown was a good way to ease into Wales Rally GB," said Mikkelsen.

Related Articles

"The conditions were a bit more slippery than during the tests ahead of the rally. As such, they provided a valuable opportunity to adapt. Quite simply, it was typical Wales. We had good runs and tried out two different car set-ups.

"All in all, I am obviously happy with the result and looking forward to the rally. I think we are ready."

"Wales Rally GB promises to be excellent. No driver is burdened with the pressure of trying to win the championship, so everyone can go all out to end the season on a high," added Ogier, who successfully retained the WRC Drivers' title last time out in Spain.

"I am sure that it will be an intense rally. The rain always makes conditions here very difficult and the level of grip changes all the time.

"The stages are absolutely beautiful. There are a few new sections, but I am sure they will be just as great to drive on as the other, classic stages. I am really looking forward it."

"I am happy with the shakedown," Latvala chipped in. "The grip changes continuously at the rally in Wales. There is very hard, firm gravel, as well as extremely soft, slushy surfaces. And when it rains, that is when the real challenge begins.

"I think we are well prepared. The set-up we started with was a little too hard, so we then opted for a softer set-up. That was far better.

"I like Wales Rally GB and definitely have an opportunity to challenge for the win again. At the recent rally in Spain I was not as fast as I had hoped on gravel. Today was primarily about me rediscovering my pace on gravel."

Former F1 driver Robert Kubica was next up in fourth in his M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC car, 0.6 seconds further back, with Ott Tanak fifth, ahead of Brits Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans in joint sixth.

Further back, Mikko Hirvonen, who is competing in his final WRC event, was eighth, with Hayden Paddon and Mads Ostberg rounding out the top ten, both having done a 2m 03.2s time.

Wales Rally GB will now officially begin this evening with the ceremonial start at Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay.

The action starts proper on Friday in mid-Wales with four stages on the bill, all to be run twice. SS1, the 14.58 km Gartheiniog 1 test, is scheduled to start at 07.44 hours local time.

Wales Rally GB - Shakedown results (Top 10):

1. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC 2m 01.3s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 01.6s M
= Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 01.6s M
4. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 02.2s M
5. Ott Tanak Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 02.3s
6. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 2m 02.4s M
= Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 02.4s M
8. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 02.5s M
9. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC 2m 03.2s M
= Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 2m 03.2s M


11. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 2m 03.9s M
12. Henning Solberg Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 04.6s
13. Juho Hanninen Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 2m 04.8s M
14. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +02m 05.7s M

all times unofficial