Andreas Mikkelsen rates Sunday’s last-gasp victory at PZM 73rd Rally Poland as more satisfying than his maiden WRC win in Spain last year.
Both came in dramatic fashion. His Spanish success came when team-mate Sébastien Ogier crashed out of the lead in the final Power Stage, while his follow-up win was a result of long-time leader Ott Tänak puncturing in the penultimate test.
But Mikkelsen regards his Polish triumph as the best drive of his career after keeping the pressure on Tänak for two days after the Estonian took the lead on Friday afternoon.
“In many ways I feel we really deserved this because we pushed so hard during the weekend. There was one small mistake on Saturday but that’s it. I’ve probably done my best rally to date and it feels earned,” the Norwegian told wrc.com.
“My first win was a little bit lucky, but I felt we drove really clever today to keep the pressure on Ott so he had to go fast over the rocks.”
Tänak was one of a string of drivers who fell foul of the rocky, rain-soaked penultimate stage when a front right puncture on his Ford Fiesta RS wiped out his near-20sec lead.
“That stage is probably the most difficult I’ve ever done and we had to drive it quickly as well. I knew it would be difficult so if we could be fast and put the pressure on so Ott had to drive quickly in those conditions then anything could happen, especially with all the rocks coming out,” Mikkelsen added.
The Volkswagen Polo R pilot had words of consolation for Tänak.
“I know how he’s feeling. I was leading in Sweden in 2015 and lost it in the last stage. It’s completely devastating, the worst feeling I’ve ever had. I told him he did an amazing job and he will win many rallies in the future. You have to feel sorry for him,” said Mikkelsen.