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ERC NEWS 

Skoda driver Andreas Mikkelsen tops shakedown for Czech Rally Zlin

Andreas Mikkelsen

Skoda UK Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen has made the perfect preparation for the latest round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, with fastest time on Friday's shakedown for Rally Zlin.

In unusually hot conditions, the Fabia S2000 driver was 0.7s of a second faster than his nearest rival, local hero Jan Kopecky, around the 2.6-mile stage.

Norwegian Mikkelsen admitted shakedown couldn't have been better as he searches for his first IRC success with the British-based Skoda team.

"It's been perfect today," he said. "We tried a few different things with the car and now we have the best set-up option possible. I'm very happy and looking forward to the start this evening."

Britain's Guy Wilks was third fastest and the quickest non-Skoda driver in his Peugeot 207 S2000. His time, 1.2s down on Mikkelsen's benchmark, was shared with series leader Juho Hanninen.

Shakedown was delayed after Luca Betti crashed his Peugeot on his first attempt at the stage.

Temperatures in the Otrokovice service park topped at 36 degrees, with further sunshine expected when the main part of the rally action gets underway on Saturday morning.

The event starts with a town centre superspecial on Friday night.

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