Thursday | 21 May 2015

Mikkelsen heads VW 1-2-3 in Portugal shakedown

Andreas Mikkelsen was fastest in Thursday morning’s shakedown at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on his first competitive outing in Volkswagen Motorsport’s 2015-specification Polo R.

The Norwegian headed team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in a VW 1-2-3. While his colleagues have driven the car since January’s opening round of the season in Monte-Carlo, this is Mikkelsen’s first rally in it.

He was quickest through the 4.63km Paredes test by 1.3sec from Ogier, with Latvala a further 0.5sec back in third.

“I can’t understand why I didn’t get this car earlier!” joked Mikkelsen. “The feeling with it is great. We had a super test and managed to do a lot of kilometres. I was introduced to it last year so I knew what to expect. I really enjoyed this morning.”

Behind the Volkswagen trio, Ott Tänak was fourth in the first indication of the pace of the new Ford Fiesta RS. He was 0.3sec behind Latvala and tied with Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20. Robert Kubica completed the top six in another Fiesta RS.

Østberg's car escaped major damage in the roll

Mads Østberg survived relatively unscathed after a high-speed roll early in his first run with Citroën’s new-look DS 3. Damage was light and the Norwegian completed two more runs after repairs.

“We ran wide, touched a bank and rolled in the road, landing on our side. It was quite a big crash but no real impact. We asked spectators to put the car back on its wheels, changed a puncture and drove back to service,” explained Østberg.

“There was a misunderstanding in the car and I think I heard the wrong pace note, but I’m unsure. I thought I had a ‘short six left minus’ corner which is flat out. But it was a ‘five left minus’ – which is definitely a corner where you should brake,” he added.

Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2015: Top ten Shakedown times:

PositionDriverCarBest time
1Andreas MikkelsenVolkswagen Polo R3min 11.3sec
2Sébastien OgierVolkswagen Polo R3min 12.6sec
3Jari-Matti LatvalaVolkswagen Polo R3min 13.1sec
=4Ott Tänak Ford Fiesta RS3min 13.4sec
=4Dani Sordo Hyundai i20 3min 13.4sec
6Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS 3min 13.6sec
7Kris MeekeDS 3 3min 14.0sec
8Hayden PaddonHyundai i203min 14.3sec
9Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i203min 14.6sec
10Elfyn Evans Ford Fiesta RS 3min 14.9sec

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