Saturday | 23 Jan 2016

SS10: Mikkelsen stuns in Monte snow

Andreas Mikkelsen used the grip offered by four studded tyres to deliver a remarkable stage victory on the snowiest roads encountered so far at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Stage info: SS10

St Leger les Melezes - La Batie Neuve 1, 17.13km
Although the name is familiar, this stage has never been used in this format. After 5km it crosses the Ancelle ski slopes and begins a steep climb via a string of hairpins to the Col de Moissière. After the col the road descends on a narrow and bumpy road which twists and turns through Sapet forest, before a short detour around a residential area to the finish.

The Norwegian was the only top driver to choose four spiked tyres on Saturday morning. They were unsuited to the opening stage when he dropped more than a minute, but were perfect for the snowy roads of the Ancelle ski slopes.

The Volkswagen Polo R driver was 2.0sec faster on the initial uphill section but used the grip to his advantage on the downhill section to win the 17.13km test by 43.9sec.

“We had the best tyre choice on this one. I pushed very hard on the downhill section, but over the two stages I’m not sure this was the best option,” said Mikkelsen.

Leader Sébastien Ogier was second fastest in his Polo R to extend his lead to 30.2sec over Kris Meeke, who conceded a further 10sec in Citroën’s DS 3.

“We slid wide and hit something on the outside of a corner,” said the Briton. “It was an incredibly difficult stage and after that I lost confidence.”

Most drivers had only two studded tyres available and struggled on the treacherous downhill section to the finish. Third fastest Jari-Matti Latvala summed it up best: “I don’t know if I have ever driven in such difficult conditions. The hairpins were very slippery and two or three times I had to use full throttle just to keep going,” said the Finn.

Dani Sordo fixed the suspension problem on his Hyundai i20 after the previous stage but a gearshift issue hindered him here. Team-mate Hayden Paddon spun three times, Stéphane Lefebvre dropped 25sec with a spin and Bryan Bouffier became stuck in a hairpin and required spectator help to restart.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rallye Monte-Carlo.

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