Andreas Mikkelsen extends IRC lead with second in San Marino

KODA UK Motorsports Andreas Mikkelsen has extended his lead in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge after finishing 2nd on the San Marino Rally (July 6-7) in his factory-prepared Fabia S2000. The reigning Drivers champion is now 24 points ahead of Jan Kopeck (KODA Motorsport), while KODA increases its lead in the Manufacturers standings to 128 points, as the 13 round series moves into the second half of the season.

Co-driven by Ola Flene, Andreas drove magnificently to lead the narrow, twisty and dusty gravel event for eight stages (SS3-10), despite running first on the road during Leg 1 and sweeping the loose gravel away for the cars following. His normally aspirated Fabia S2000 was also at a disadvantage on the many uphill hairpin sections against the turbocharged car of Giandomenico Basso, yet his inch-perfect driving saw Andreas record six fastest stage times compared to Bassos five over the two day event.

Andreas entered the 13th and final stage 3.8 seconds behind Basso. It was a stage that favoured the turbocharged car, as Basso had been quicker on both previous runs through it. With finishing well and scoring valuable IRC points the main priority, Andreas was one second quicker than Basso over the final test to secure 2nd placefinishing just 2.8 seconds adrift after over two and a half hours and 118.2 miles (190.3kms) of competition.

KODA Fabia S2000s filled the next two positions, with Umberto Scandola finishing 3rd and initial rally leader Sepp Wiegand 4th.

Andreas: The stages on this years San Marino Rally have been some of the most difficult gravel ones I have ever competed on, especially when we were running first on the road and sweeping the loose gravel. The roads were so narrow and twisty, with so many trees and bushes hanging into the road, that it was impossible to see the exit of corners, so Im very pleased with our speed and performance. When the stages were fast we were the fastest, but on the many uphill hairpin sections we lost out to the turbocharged car. We came to San Marino to score as many IRC points as possible and to extend our lead in the series, so Im very happy that weve achieved that.

In addition to broadcasting recorded highlights of the event, Eurosport cameras have been following Andreas and Ola during the San Marino Rally for its Inside IRC programme, which is scheduled to be broadcast at 23.30 (CET) on Tuesday 10 July (check TV listings for regional times).

The next round of the IRC is the Sibiu Rally Romania (20-21 July).

Final positions (provisional top 6 after SS13)

1. Giandomenico Basso/Mitia Dotta (Ford Fiesta S2000).2hrs 35mins secs2. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Flene (KODA Fabia S2000).+2.8secs3. Umberto Scandola/Guido DAmore (KODA Fabia S2000).+1min 41.6secs4. Sepp Wiegand/Timo Gottschalk (KODA Fabia S2000).+2mins 06.2secs5. Jarkko Nikara/Jarkko Kalliolepo (Subaru Impreza).+6mins 12.2secs6. Gergly Szab/Karoly Borbely (Mitsubishi Lancer).+10mins 15.6secs

IRC points (provisional after Round 7)

Drivers

1. Andreas Mikkelsen.107pts2. Jan Kopeck83pts3. Juho Hnninen.68pts4. Sepp Wiegand.52pts5. Giandomenico Basso.40pts6. Bryan Bouffier and Umberto Scandola .27pts

Manufacturers

1. KODA.282pts2. Peugeot.154pts3. M-Sport.84pts4. Renault.64pts5. Subaru.63pts6. Honda.28pts


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