Andreas Mikkelsen is within touching distance of clinching the WRC2 title – despite trailing Central European Rally leader Emil Lindholm by more than 13 minutes after Saturday’s stages.
Mikkelsen’s outing at this all-new tri-nation fixture has not gone to plan so far. The Norwegian driver languishes 16th overall in the premier support category after crashing his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 into the undergrowth on Friday morning.
He suffered another time-consuming spin on Saturday morning, but the demise of Yohan Rossel – coupled with Gus Greensmith’s current standing of fifth – means that Mikkelsen can still wrap up the title on Sunday. As it stands, he must outscore Greensmith in the Wolf Power Stage to seal the deal.
Should the Briton climb to fourth, it gets more complicated. Mikkelsen would then need to win the final test, at the same time being reliant on Greensmith not scoring any bonus points. And, if Greensmith makes it inside the top three, the title will be decided in Japan next month.
Out of contention for title glory but leading the charge for rally honours, Lindholm won three of the day’s six asphalt speed tests to extend his lead to 20.9sec in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2, a car he is still coming to grips with.
“We have to be happy with both yesterday and today,” he said. “It’s our first rally on Tarmac with this car and it’s not the easiest event, but the feeling is good.”
Behind the Finn was Frenchman Nicolas Ciamin, who ended the day just 2.6sec ahead of the similar Škoda of Erik Cais after passing the Czech driver in SS10.
Kajetan Kajetanowicz climbed to fourth in the final stage at the expense of Nikolay Gryazin, who lost almost four minutes with an off-road excursion. Greensmith was fifth, followed by Miko Marczyk.