Sunday | 04 Oct 2015

SS8: Mikkelsen hounds Evans for second

Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen piled the pressure on Elfyn Evans through Sunday’s penultimate special stage of Tour de Corse – Rallye de France in their fight for second.

Stage info: SS8

Zérubia – Martini, 41.43km
Another historical Tour de Corse test, even if the final part from Arbellara to Martini is new. The surface changes constantly with banked corners, old bumpy roads and fast, flowing sections to Arbellara. Drivers then climb to the Col de Siu, 3km before the finish, with a magical view over the Gulf of Propriano.

In conditions that were as tricky as the previous test, Mikkelsen was 10.9sec faster than the Welshman in his Volkswagen Polo R and the pair will start the final live TV Power Stage separated by 9.8sec.

“I had to go easy on the brakes near the end but it was a clean stage. We’re not taking any risks and keeping it in a good place, but I’m not sure if we can catch Evans,” said Mikkelsen.

Evans shook his head as he crossed the finish in his Ford Fiesta RS. “Conditions are so good in places but in others they’re much worse than I expected. We had quite a few slides so that knocked my confidence. Andreas has been driving really well today and maybe I haven’t been so good,” he said.

Fourth fastest for Jari-Matti Latvala enabled the Finn to widen his lead over Evans to 32.7sec. “The first 10km were difficult, with changing grip all the time. There was a really nice part in the middle but the final section was demanding again. I stayed cool and took no big risks,” he said.

Kevin Abbring’s excellent run on only his second asphalt event in a World Rally Car ended when the Dutchman crashed out of fifth 11.6km into the test.

Fastest time went to Dani Sordo, his Hyundai i20 3.2sec clear of Sébastien Ogier. Third fastest for Hayden Paddon allowed the Kiwi to leapfrog Mads Østberg into fifth. “I felt like I had a good stage but I have no chance to defend my position,” said the Norwegian.

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