Mikkelsen one point off ERC lead despite fifth-gear moment
Andreas Mikkelsen narrowed Alexey Lukyanuk’s FIA European Rally Championship lead to just one point on Rally di Roma Capitale, despite a high-speed off on a fifth-gear corner on the last stage of the asphalt event.
Mikkelsen was trying to catch and pass Simone Tempestini for seventh position on SS13, a result that would have put him on top of the title table after three rounds following Lukyanuk’s exit on Sunday morning. But Mikkelsen’s mistake and a strong end to the rally by Tempestini meant the positions went unchanged.
“I tried to catch the cars in front, I knew it was going to be tough but I tried to give it everything and I went off on a fifth gear corner,” said Norwegian Mikkelsen. “I am lucky to be here, but we tried. It was a right into a left, there was some gravel, we lost the rear and went off, very lucky, very lucky.”
Mikkelsen’s final-stage spin rounded out a weekend of frustration for the Toksport WRT driver, who reported a two-wheeled moment on SS2 following a knock and was never truly at ease with the set-up of his Škoda Fabia Rally2 or his pacenotes on his Rally di Roma Capitale debut.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “A lot of it comes down to the preparations coming straight from Estonia and many gravel rallies in a row and only a very small test before. I just needed yesterday to dial myself a little bit in to asphalt. I don’t think I had the aggressivity and the speed in the corners which you need to have on Tarmac. But today was much better and we need to learn from this.”
Click HERE to view the provisional ERC standings.