Sat 26 Feb 2022

Mikkelsen closes on consecutive WRC2 victories

Andreas Mikkelsen remained on target for his second WRC2 win in as many rallies as he fended off Ole Christian Veiby on Saturday at Rally Sweden.

Mikkelsen moved into the lead late on Friday courtesy of a Veiby stall, but his fellow Norwegian jumped back in front at the first pass of Långed.

The Škoda Fabia Rally2 pilot responded on the very next stage to reclaim the top spot and managed to maintain a slender advantage in tricky conditions. 

He arrived back to Umeå 10.9sec clear of his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 rival and in eighth overall.

"It's been a good day for us," said Mikkelsen. "We tried to stay away from mistakes and have a clean drive. 

"We were probably a bit safe in the last stage and I'm sure our time is not the best, but it will be good enough," he added.

Veiby was pleased with his day, despite gradually losing ground to Mikkelsen. He promised a big attack on Sunday’s final leg to try to topple the leader.

"Everything is possible," the 25-year-old insisted. "We have been able to catch up to 7sec on a single stage, so that's definitely the plan."

Nikolay Gryazin experimented with various set-ups on his Toksport-run Fabia throughout the day. The tweaks reflected positively on the timesheets and he trailed Veiby by 30.6sec with four stages to go.

Although not completely satisfied with his driving, M-Sport Ford star Jari Huttunen managed to leapfrog Polo youngster Georg Linnamäe on the final Umeå test to take fourth. Just 3.9sec separated Huttunen and Linnamäe at close of play. 

Egon Kaur completed the leaderboard in another Polo. The Estonian was 1min 02.6sec down on the leaders. 

Alexander Villanueva retired his Citroën C3 Rally2 with transmission failure at SS14, whilst former Suzuki factory pilot Per Gunnar Andersson stopped on the next stage.  

  • Full coverage from Rally Sweden is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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