Andreas Mikkelsen rocketed up the leaderboard from sixth to third during a snowy opening to Saturday’s second leg of Rally Sweden.About 5cm of snow fell overnight in the Hagfors area where today’s action is based, transforming the special stages compared to the mud encountered during the recce.
Mikkelsen repaired much of the damage caused by yesterday’s spin that relegated him from second with second fastest time to overhaul Mads Østberg, Ott Tänak and Dani Sordo.
However, Mikkelsen had to give best to Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who made light of the perceived disadvantage of ploughing the fresh snow as road opener, to go fastest and extend his lead over Hayden Paddon to 32.4sec.
“Ogier has been in every ditch and there are stones everywhere. He’s setting the boundaries!” said Mikkelsen.
Ogier was content with his performance. “It wasn’t the best stage, but not too bad. It will cost me time compared to the guys behind but how much I don’t know. It would have been difficult for me to do better,” he said.
Hayden Paddon retained second in his Hyundai i20, the Kiwi believing there was little advantage from his lower start position. “In some places we have good grip, in others there’s more ice and the surface is chewing up. I don’t think there’s a gain or a loss in my position, but my driving was messy. I can improve a lot,” he said.
Østberg lost a few seconds after sliding his Ford Fiesta RS into a ditch, but Sordo fell back from the big fight for second after losing a minute with a front left puncture. In more serious trouble was Eric Camilli who rolled heavily and retired.
Jari-Matti Latvala’s disastrous weekend continued with a front left puncture that cost a minute, while Lorenzo Bertelli retired his Ford Fiesta RS last night.