Leading up to the rally, Mikkelsen made it clear he not only wanted to win; he wanted to dominate.
The Norwegian stuck to the plan, launching into the category lead from the get-go with confidence brimming in both his Skoda Fabia Rally2 and ice note crew. He even caught the i20 World Rally Car of Pierre Louis Loubet on Saturday morning’s Aspremont - La Bâtie-des-Fonts speed test.
Sunday required a more reserved approach to confirm the win. A spin during the Wolf Power Stage almost put paid to the Skoda star’s efforts, but he recovered to finish 1min 52.2sec in front of second-placed Adrien Fourmaux.
"It has been really nice,” said a relieved Mikkelsen, “the key to success here is to be at one with your gravel crew and luckily I work very closely with my crew all the time. We spent some time here before the recce to get synchronised and it has paid off."
Fourmaux was also delighted with his result. The M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 pilot was consistently quick all weekend and claimed four stage wins. Unfortunately for him, a flat tyre on the first corner of Saint-Clément - Freissinières on Saturday cost 1min 30sec.
"It was a really nice rally for us - we had very good pace and fighting with Andreas was really nice. I want to thank M-Sport - they did a perfect job all weekend," beamed the Frenchman.
Citroën C3 Rally2 man Eric Camilli was satisfied to finish 1min 25.2sec further back after a year out of the seat, with fourth-placed Marco Bulacia 5min 34.4sec behind in his similar car.
Sean Johnston trailed Bulacia by 4min 10.4sec to bag a top five finish on his WRC2 debut in another C3, whilst Italian star Enrico Brazzoli completed the leaderboard 45min 25sec adrift of the leaders in sixth.