Mikkelsen tops Chile warm-up

Andreas Mikkelsen continued his rich vein of form by winning shakedown at Copec Rally Chile on Thursday afternoon.

The Norwegian, who claimed a morale-boosting second in Argentina two weeks ago after a lean start to the season, was fastest through the 6.45km test at San Pedro de la Paz by 1.0sec.

Rain made the opening runs wet and muddy but as conditions dried the pace increased and Mikkelsen, driving a Hyundai i20, posted his benchmark time in the last of three passes.

Shakedown provided the first opportunity for the WRC’s big names to sample Chile’s roads at speed as the south American country becomes the 32nd to host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship - and the first newcomer since Bulgaria in 2010.

World champion Sébastien Ogier set the early pace in his Citroën C3. The Frenchman was fastest in the first run before Kris Meeke went quickest in the second pass. He was eclipsed by Mikkelsen’s late surge after a delay meant shakedown was extended.

Toyota Yaris drivers Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala filled the remaining top three places. The Estonian edged Latvala by 0.2sec.

Thierry Neuville, bidding for a WRC treble after victories in Corsica and Argentina, was fourth in his i20, 1.4sec further back. Elfyn Evans and Meeke completed the top six.

Chile’s Minister for Sport, Paulina Kantor Pupkin, and Biobió region senator Jacqueline van Rysselberghe enjoyed a high-speed ride through the test with WRC 2 Pro driver Gus Greensmith and Lorenzo Bertelli respectively.

The leading times were:

PositionDriverCarTime
1.Andreas MikkelsenHyundai i204min 46.4sec
2.Ott Tänak Toyota Yaris+1.0sec
3.Jari-Matti LatvalaToyota Yaris+1.2sec
4.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai i20+2.6sec
5.Elfyn EvansFord Fiesta+3.7sec
6.Kris MeekeToyota Yaris+3.9sec
7.Sébastien OgierCitroën C3+4.0sec
8.Sébastien LoebHyundai i20+4.5sec
9.Teemu SuninenFord Fiesta+5.4sec
10.Esapekka LappiCitroën C3+5.5sec

Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Copec Rally Chile, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.

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