Saturday stage knowledge key, says Mikkelsen

Andreas Mikkelsen reckons his knowledge of the final day’s stages could make the difference in his quest for his first IRC victory on asphalt when the series resumes in Corsica this week.

Mikkelsen, IRC champion in 2011, holds an 18-point title advantage heading to the island rally from May 9-12.

He was a contender for a podium last year until a puncture dropped him back nearing the finish.

This year’s route has been tweaked to close with a cluster of stages around Bastia on Saturday. They traditionally form part of Ronde De La Giraglia, a local rally in Corsica, which Mikkelsen tackled in 2011 to prepare for Tour de Corse.

“After good performances on Tarmac in Gran Canaria and Ireland, I’m really feeling comfortable heading to Corsica,” said the 22-year-old Skoda UK Motorsport driver. “I enjoy the stages and we had a good rally there last year. A lot of the stages are the same, and the final leg of the event near Bastia is on the same stages we did on the Ronde De La Giraglia, so that will definitely be good for us.”

Mikkelsen will face a tough fight in his pursuit of his second victory in this year’s IRC with opposition coming from 21 other Super 2000 drivers, including factory Skoda pilot Jan Kopecky, former Monte Carlo Rally winner Bryan Bouffier, double European champion Giandomenico Basso and world championship star Dani Sordo.

However, because Sordo’s Mini is not registered for IRC points, the Spaniard won’t, in theory, be a threat to Mikkelsen. Nevertheless, the Norwegian is excited by the prospect of doing battle with Sordo over the 318 competitive kilometres.

“I’m happy to see Dani Sordo on the starting list; he’ll be a benchmark for us all, and it will be interesting to fight against a top WRC driver on an IRC event,” said Mikkelsen.

This year’s Tour de Corse, the 55th running, features 14 stages, four of which will be shown live on Eurosport.

Source: Max Rally