WRC Rallye Deutschland: Mikkelsen remains in lead

Andreas Mikkelsen completes Friday's second loop of two stages with a 2.9sec lead over Thierry Neuville; Sebastien Ogier holds third, 1.8secs back – and 6.6secs up on Dani Sordo in P4; Ott Tanak is a distant fifth
CLICK HERE for Rallye Deutschland leaderboard after SS4

Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen continues to lead Rallye Deutschland after Friday's repeat loop, although he was unable to extend his advantage.

Mikkelsen went into the mid-day halt with a 2.7sec margin over Hyundai's Thierry Neuville, while team-mate Sebastien Ogier was third, 4.1secs further back.

In the first test this afternoon, Mikkelsen emerged quickest, completing the repeat-run through the 22km Mittelmosel test in 12mins 57.6secs, 2.5secs up on Neuville, to extend his lead to just over 5 secs.

However, he then lost out in following test, completing it 6.7secs slower than Ogier – and 2.3secs slower than Neuville. It means he will go into the day ending SSS, the 8.21 km Ollmuth test, with a 2.9sec margin.

"A really good stage. Not bad for a Norwegian!” Mikkelsen told the official WRC site after winning SS3. “Too careful near the end but overall I'm pleased. I was just under the limit, I'm really happy.”

Speaking after 'only' going fourth in SS4, he added: “I did a good stage but I have to be patient with the set-up here. If I push too much I struggle with the understeer.”

Meanwhile, Neuville could possibly have taken the lead in Moselland 2, but for a spin: “I spun in a very tight hairpin right,” he explained. “I lost, I guess, five seconds. The handbrake turn was nice but I caught a front wheel on the inside and that spun us around.”

Ogier in contrast had a great run in SS4, taking his second stage win of the event: “l'm happy with my drive. For sure we are very clean, no moments. I'm not taking too many risks,” said the Frenchman and current Championship leader.

Behind, Dani Sordo was fourth in his Hyundai i20 WRC in SS3 and second in SS4 to keep him just in touch with the battle ahead. He is now 11.3secs off the lead and 6.6secs off Ogier in third.

DMACK World Rally Team's Ott Tanak is a distant fifth, almost 40secs further back, and just 7.9secs up on Citroen DS 3 WRC runner Stephane Lefebvre.

M-Sport's Mads Ostberg and Hyundai's Hayden Paddon lie seventh and eighth after a difficult morning, and the latter had more dramas in SS3.

“A big moment [there, SS3]. I was lucky to get away with it,” Paddon conceded. “We were fast downhill in sixth and went off onto the grass - then back the other way, and back again. It's the biggest moment I've had and got away with. We are lucky to be here.”

In WRC2, Armin Kremer continues to run first – and ninth overall - now 27.5secs up on Esapekka Lappi. Ghislain de Mevius holds third in class, with Jose Antonio Suarez Miranda slipping back from P2 in WRC2 to P7 after a spin and a puncture in SS4.

Day one of Rallye Deutschland now concludes with the Ollmuth SSS. It is due to start at 18.12 hours local time [17.12 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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