Rally Poland: update #1
The headline making events on SS1
Andreas Mikkelsen jumped into the lead of the rally with his second fastest time on the 17.24km run through ‘Kruklanki 1’. The VW Polo driver was 0.9s faster than his team-mate Ogier to take a slender 0.4s advantage over the Frenchman at the top of the overall leaderboard. “Everything feels good,” the Norwegian said. “I was maybe a bit careful at the start of the stage but I’m happy with my driving – it’s very clean.”
SS2 was an eventful one for local hero Robert Kubica. The Pole was fourth fastest on the opening stage, but all his impressive work was undone on SS2 as he rolled his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. He only lost 28.3s, though, thanks to the enthusiasm of his fans lining the stage. “I was braking over a crest, the car unloaded and we went straight into the ditch and rolled,” he said. “I should have gone straight on but I tried to recover it. We had to ask the spectators to help us.” He ended the stage in 11th place overall.
The fastest stage time on SS2 went to Juho Hanninen as he registered Hyundai’s third fastest stage time in the last two events. The Finn had grown up on fast and flowing roads in his homeland and he was feeling comfortable on the Polish roads and was fourth overall, 5.3s off Mikkelsen’s lead.
Jari-Matti Latvala’s decline continued on SS2. He dropped a further 10.1s behind the leaders to leave him 21.2s off the ultimate pace. But the VW driver now had a better idea of what the problem was. He said: “I’m not happy with the braking, the car’s not turning at all. I lost quite a lot of time.” Latvala’s woes would definitely keep him engineers busy at the end of leg service.
The M-Sport World Rally Team’s frustrating start to the rally continued. Mikko Hirvonen was only ninth fastest on SS2, while team-mate Evans was 14th after an unscheduled trip into a field. Hirvonen was 26.2s off the lead, while Evans was a further 8.4s behind. Hirvonen wasn’t feeling good behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta. “I’m struggling a lot. It’s going to be a tough weekend,” the Finn predicted.