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WRC Rally Finland: Road sweeper challenge a real awakener - Mikkelsen

Andreas Mikkelsen: We worked hard all weekend, and things where looking great in the middle of the rally when we were in close battle for a podium finish. Unfortunately the sudden challenge of being first on the road was a real awakener…
Andreas Mikkelsen says he can't be satisfied with his seventh place finish on Rally Finland and admits the challenge of running first on the road on Saturday was a “real awakener”.

The Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot had been fourth at the end of Friday's first leg, before moving up to third in SS13 on Saturday morning.

However, when team-mate Sebastien Ogier had brake problems and was late to the time control for SS14, Mikkelsen found himself promoted to being first on the road, and combined with an off in that test – costing him just over 20 seconds – he plummeted down the leaderboard, eventually finishing seventh on Sunday, just over 40secs off the final podium place, and 17.8secs off M-Sport's Mads Ostberg in sixth.

"A good weekend but I can't be satisfied to finish seventh,” Mikkelsen told the official WRC site after the final test.

Writing on his official Facebook page, the Norwegian added: “We worked hard all weekend, and things where looking great in the middle of the rally when we were in close battle for a podium finish. Unfortunately the sudden challenge of being first on the road was a real awakener.

“From third to eight in a couple of stages! It was a strange feeling arriving at the stop line after giving it all, only to find out there was an R5 car faster than you! A lot of hard work that didn't pay off.”

Mikkelsen does, however, make up a bit of ground in the Drivers' Championship, cutting the gap to leader Ogier from 51 points to 45.

“His lead is obviously still a big one, but we are still in touch,” added the Norwegian.

“Rally Germany [is] next [too], and a change of surface [with the switch to asphalt], and I like that rally very much!” he concluded.
by Rob Wilkins


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