MIKKELSEN HEADS VW 1-2-3 IN PORTUGAL SHAKEDOWN

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MIKKELSEN HEADS VW 1-2-3 IN PORTUGAL SHAKEDOWN

ANDREAS Mikkelsen was fastest in Thursday morning’s shakedown at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on his first competitive outing in Volkswagen Motorsport’s 2015-specification Polo R.

The Norwegian headed teammates Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala in a VW 1-2-3. While his colleagues have driven the car since January’s opening round of the season in Monte-Carlo, this is Mikkelsen’s first rally in it.

He was quickest through the 4.63km Paredes test by 1.3sec from Ogier, with Latvala a further 0.5sec back in third.

“I can’t understand why I didn’t get this car earlier!” joked Mikkelsen. “The feeling with it is great. I really enjoyed this morning.”

Behind the Volkswagen trio, Ott Tänak was fourth in the first indication of the pace of the new Ford Fiesta RS. He was 0.3sec behind Latvala and tied with Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20. Robert Kubica completed the top six in another Fiesta RS.

Mads Østberg survived relatively unscathed after a high-speed roll early in his first run with Citroën’s new-look DS 3. Damage was light and the Norwegian completed two more runs after repairs.

“We ran wide, touched a bank and rolled in the road, landing on our side. It was quite a big crash but no real impact. We asked spectators to put the car back on its wheels, changed a puncture and drove back to service,” explained Østberg.

“There was a misunderstanding in the car and I think I heard the wrong pace note, but I’m unsure.

“I thought I had a ‘short six left minus’ corner which is flat out. But it was a ‘five left minus’ – which is definitely a corner where you should brake,” he added.

TOP TEN SHAKEDOWN TIMES:

1 Andreas Mikkelsen (Volkswagen Polo R) 3min 11.3sec

2 Sébastien Ogier (Volkswagen Polo R) 3min 12.6sec

3 Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R) 3min 13.1sec

=4 Ott Tänak (Ford Fiesta RS) 3min 13.4sec

=4 Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) 3min 13.4sec

6 Robert Kubica (Ford Fiesta RS) 3min 13.6sec

7 Kris Meeke (Citroen DS 3   3min 14.0sec

8 Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) 3min 14.3sec

9 Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) 3min 14.6sec

10 Elfyn Evans (Ford Fiesta RS) 3min 14.9sec

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.