Andreas Mikkelsen dominated WRC 2 at Rallye Monte-Carlo, steering his Skoda Fabia R5 to a healthy 2m47s advantage over Jan Kopecký’s similar machine after Friday’s second leg.
As a driver with plenty of top-flight World Rally Car experience, Mikkelsen was installed as pre-event favourite heading into the season-opener as a guest driver, and the Norwegian didn’t disappoint.
He has won all but one of the seven speed tests to date in the French Alps, although team-mate Kopecký offered a strong challenge until a front puncture delayed the Czech champion.
“It goes without saying that it was a big adjustment at first, but we started cautiously and then gradually upped the tempo. We now feel right at home in the car, although they were really extremely difficult conditions,” said Mikkelsen.
Kopecký dropped behind Bryan Bouffier into third, but quickly regained position. He finished more than two minutes clear of the Frenchman who clipped a rock in the penultimate stage and punctured his Ford Fiesta R5’s rear left tyre.
Eric Camilli was fourth in a Ford Fiesta R5, despite going off after a late pace note call from his co-driver, which cost four minutes. Quentin Gilbert was fifth in another Fiesta R5, with Emil Bergqvist completing the top six.
Retirements included Italian champion Giandomenico Basso with an overheating engine, Armin Kremer, who crashed his Fabia R5, Quentin Giordano, who failed to restart this morning after engine problems last night, and Yoann Bonato.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rallye Monte-Carlo