WRC Rallye Deutschland: Mikkelsen leads in Germany after SS2

Andreas Mikkelsen completes Friday's first loop with a 2.7sec lead over Thierry Neuville; Sebastien Ogier holds third, 4.1secs further back; Jari-Matti Latvala retires in SS1 with a gearbox problem
CLICK HERE for Rallye Deutschland leaderboard after SS2

Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen leads Rallye Deutschland following Friday's incident filled opening loop, with team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala retiring in SS1 with gearbox problems and Sebastien Ogier losing a few seconds in SS2 when he missed a hairpin.

Mikkelsen, who tied for top time in the shakedown on Thursday, was second quickest in the first stage, the 22km Mittelmosel 1 test, 1.9secs slower than Ogier, despite touching a bank “a little bit”.

The Norwegian was then second again in SS2, posting exactly the same time as Hyundai's Dani Sordo, but 0.9sec slower than Thierry Neuville. However, with Ogier losing a few seconds after a mistake at the start, he now moves up to P1.

“Not a good stage for me,” Mikkelsen told the official WRC site post-Moselland 1, even though it was good enough to put him top of the leaderboard.

“A lot of mistakes so I'm not happy. Anyway, service next - a chance to reset, fit some fresh rims and let's go!"

Behind, Neuville heads the chasing pack in his i20 WRC, 2.7secs off Mikkelsen and 4.1secs up on Ogier in third.

"I slightly hit a stone by the road [at the start of SS2]. But other than that [it was] okay. The beginning was not so good. I was pushing too much in the corner. After that I found a better rhythm," Neuville stated.

Meanwhile, Dani Sordo holds fourth, 3.5secs back, but like his rivals wasn't particularly happy: "I don't have a good feeling - a little understeer all the time. I can't push like I want."

DMACK WRT's Ott Tanak rounds out the top-five, 14.3sec shy of Sordo, and 6.6secs up on Citroen DS3 WRC runner Stephane Lefebvre, with Mads Ostberg and Hayden Paddon someway back in seventh and eighth.

Ostberg hit something in SS1 in his M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC and then lost more time in SS2, complaining of steering problems and a faulty handbrake.

Paddon also had a tough start, losing 20secs in the opener after a “big spin”, before then losing more time in SS2 when he locked up and hit a drain, sustaining a rear left puncture.

In WRC2, Armin Kremer leads the principal support category, and is ninth overall, 19.2secs up on Jose Antonio Suarez Miranda in second. Esapekka Lappi is third, 28.3secs back.

As for retirements, in addition to Latvala, M-Sport's Eric Camilli was the other major scalp of the morning. He went off the road near the end of SS1. WRC2 runners Quentin Giordano and Julien Maurin were similarly stopped in that first test.

Rallye Deutschland now continues this afternoon, with repeat-runs through this morning's first two stages. The leg then concludes with a run through the 8.21 km Ollmuth SSS at 18.12 hours local time [17.12 hours UK time]. SS3, Mittelmosel 2, is due to start at 14.58 hours local time [13.58 hours UK time].
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

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Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger (NOR), VW Polo WRC, Volswagen Motosport

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