Andreas Mikkelsen eased through Saturday’s penultimate leg of Rallye Monte-Carlo to increase his lead over Skoda Motorsport team-mate Jan Kopecký to more than three minutes.
The Norwegian, making a guest appearance for the Czech squad after failing to secure a full-time seat in the headline World Rally Car category, won two of the five speed tests in the French Alps near Gap and will enter Sunday’s finale with a 3min 19.1sec advantage.
Holding a comfortable lead, Mikkelsen measured his speed over the tricky roads, parts of which were covered in snow and ice, and ended the day in seventh overall.
“We’re not taking any risks in the tricky conditions, but playing it safe all the way,” he said. “The last stage of the day was the first one with mostly asphalt and we really had fun driving that. For tomorrow, the plan is to maintain the lead and bring home the victory for Skoda.”
Czech champion Kopecký won one stage to head Bryan Bouffier’s Ford Fiesta R5 by 2min 07.5sec. Frenchman Bouffier won two stages.
Quentin Gilbert closed on Eric Camilli early this morning in their fight for fourth, but Camilli steadily extended his advantage to finish 41.8sec clear of his fellow Frenchman. Emil Bergqvist completed the top six in a Citroën DS 3.
Andrea Crugnola lost time after going off the road in SS9, but the Italian continued and was seventh in a Fiesta R5.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rallye Monte-Carlo