Sat 16 Jul 2022

Mikkelsen maintains WRC2 advantage

Andreas Mikkelsen measured his pace to perfection to keep WRC2 rival Teemu Suninen at bay on Saturday at Rally Estonia.

The frontrunning pair were so closely matched throughout the day that they were only split by less than a single second on five of the day’s nine superfast speed tests. 

Mikkelsen, driving a Toksport-prepared Škoda Fabia Rally2, won four stages and suffered an early scare on SS13 when the front right tyre came away from the bead. Thankfully the deflation occurred close to the finish and time loss was minimal. 

The Norwegian started the leg 12.1sec ahead of Hyundai i20 N Rally2 rival Suninen and, despite a frustrating half-spin on the last corner of the final stage, that gap was reduced by just 1.5sec in 95.02km - with Mikkelsen ahead by 10.6sec at close of play.

“It will be a big fight with Teemu tomorrow,” said the leader. “We will just continue like today and maybe increase the speed a little bit, in case he goes all out.

“I made a silly mistake in the last stage. On a left-hand corner, the rear caught a downhill drop a little bit and it spun me around. I could have driven forwards over a rock, but I didn’t want to take the risk so I just reversed,” he added.

Positions at the sharp end of the leaderboard were unchanged from Friday, with Marco Bulacia bringing up the rear of the podium 40.2sec behind Suninen. His Toksport Fabia team-mate Emil Lindholm edged slightly closer to end 16.3sec further back. 

M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 driver Jari Huttunen drifted further away from Lindholm and completed the penultimate day 45.1sec down in fifth, with Škoda man Kajetan Kajetanowicz rounding off the leaderboard. The Pole was 2min 22sec adrift of the leaders. 

Fabrizio Zaldivar claimed his first stage win in a Hyundai but languished in 11th overall after nursing a broken driveshaft on Friday, while Priit Koik was the only non-finisher. The home hero’s Fiesta ground to a halt on SS12 with mechanical issues. 

  • Full coverage from Rally Estonia 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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