Ypres, 25 June 2012 – ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s Andreas Mikkelsen continues to lead the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, despite a very strong run in Round 6 of the series, the Geko Ypres Rally, coming to a premature end.
ŠKODA finished 1st and 3rd to extend its lead at the top of the IRC Manufacturers’ table, with Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) finishing 46.5 seconds ahead of Freddy Loix (Peugeot), with Pieter Tsjoen 3rd in a Fabia S2000.
Having led the Belgian event after the opening stage, Andreas andco-driver Ola Fløene were battling for the lead with Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) when they put their factory-prepared Fabia S2000 momentarily into a ditch on SS5, losing one minute and dropping from 2nd to 5th.
Having regained a position before the overnight halt, Andreas started the second and final day in 4th position – keen to maintain his good pace over the long, narrow, fast and flat asphalt roads in the Flemish province of West Flanders. But 10 miles (16kms) into the very fast 16.62 mile (26.75km) Heuvelland stage (SS7), Andreas overshot a slippery T-junction, hit a bank and was forced to stop 500 metres later having sustained a broken front left lower suspension arm.
Andreas said: “I am very disappointed to not finish the Ypres Rally, as is the whole ŠKODA UK Motorsport team. We once again showed good pace on a Tarmac rally, we’re still leading the IRC and we have two very strong gravel rallies in San Marino and Romania up next, so we’re still in a very strong position approaching the mid-way point of the season.”
The next round of the IRC is Rally San Marino (6-7 July), an event Andreas won last year en route to becoming Italian Gravel Rally Champion.
Final positions (provisional top 6 after SS18) 1. Juho Hänninen/Mikko Markkula (ŠKODA Fabia S2000).…2hrs 36mins 52.7secs 2. Freddy Loix/Lara Vanneste (Peugeot 207 S2000)….+46.5secs 3. Pieter Tsjoen/Eddy Chevaillier (ŠKODA Fabia S2000)….+2mins 14.6secs 4. Michal Solowow/Maciej Baran (Peugeot 207 S2000)….+5mins 25.4secs 5. Patrik Flodin/Göran Bergsten (Ford Fiesta S2000)….+5min 55.5secs 6. Mathias Viaene/Pieter Vyncke (Peugeot 207 S2000)….+9mins 37.8secs
IRC points (provisional after Round 6) Drivers’ 1. Andreas Mikkelsen….89pts 2. Juho Hänninen….83pts 3. Jan Kopecký…68pts 4. Sepp Wiegand….40pts 5. Bryan Bouffier….27pts 6. Dani Sordo….25pts
Manufacturers’ 1. ŠKODA….249pts 2. Peugeot….154pts