Sunday | 06 Mar 2016

SS16: Mikkelsen crashes out in Otates

Andreas Mikkelsen’s hopes of overhauling Dani Sordo for a podium at Rally Guanajuato Mexico ended when he crashed on Saturday afternoon.

Stage info: SS15 / 16

SS15: Otates 2, 42.62km
Saturday’s longest test has claimed several victims in the past. Andreas Mikkelsen rolled heavily in 2014, Jari-Matti Latvala crashed several years previously and in 2013 Sébastien Ogier stopped to allow co-driver Julien Ingrassia to open a closed gate. After a narrow, uphill start, it is mostly fast and flowing on wide roads, although there is a 5km twisty section two-thirds of the way through.

SS16: El Brinco 2, 7.15km
This stretch of road is driven twice in this direction and once the opposite way in various stages. It is fast and wide for virtually the entire distance with plenty of high-speed dips. It ends 1km earlier than in previous years, meaning the finish is located at the spectacular El Brinco jump.

The Norwegian was only 4.5sec adrift of the Spaniard when his Volkswagen Polo R went off the road about 10km from the finish of the Otates test. Neither Mikkelsen nor co-driver Anders Jaeger were hurt.

Jari-Matti Latvala continued to dominate the leaderboard in his Polo R, fastest times in Otates and El Brinco giving him an unblemished tally of six wins from six stages today.

The Finn’s lead over Ogier rose to 1min 36.3sec, the world champion struggling so much in the loose gravel that he questioned whether there was a problem with his car after Otates.

“It was much more difficult than this morning. I don’t know if I have a problem or not but there’s no grip at the rear. It’s undriveable. The lines on the road are really dirty, it’s never been so bad this weekend so I have to check,” he said.

That check revealed nothing untoward, the Frenchman confirming the car was ‘fine’ after El Brinco.

Mikkelsen’s demise left Sordo in a comfortable third in his Hyundai i20, more than two minutes clear of Mads Østberg in fourth. Sordo bemoaned the lack of grip on the slippery gravel tracks while Østberg said he was ‘flat out on the limit’.

Fifth-placed Hayden Paddon struggled in Otates with problems in his Hyundai i20. “I had to manage a lot of temperatures in the car. The brakes overheated then I lost the paddle-shift gearchange and had to use the manual system. In the slower sections the car was getting too hot and I lost my rhythm with everything going on,” he said.

Benito Guerra reported overheating brakes in his Ford Fiesta RS while Martin Prokop was concerned about an alternator warning light in his similar car.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rally Guanajuato Mexico

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