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Andreas Mikkelsen wraps up Rally Azores victory

Andreas Mikkelsen, Skoda UK, Azores 2012Andreas Mikkelsen made a perfect start to his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title defence by taking a comfortable Rally Azores victory.

The Skoda UK driver led from the outset, and although factory Skoda man Juho Hanninen was right on his tail initially, Mikkelsen started stretching away even before a quick spin on Friday cost his rival some time. In the end, the gap between them was 25 seconds, as Mikkelsen took a third straight win following his Scotland and Cyprus triumphs at the end of 2011.

Bryan Bouffier's third place was secure once fellow Peugeot driver Bruno Magalhaes rolled out on Friday afternoon. The 2011 Monte Carlo winner had no answer to the leading Skodas' pace this weekend.

German Skoda duo Sepp Wiegand and Hermann Gassner Jr fought for fourth all weekend, with Wiegand finally breaking clear when Gassner made a mistake and sustained a puncture on the penultimate stage.

Leading finishers:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car               Time/Gap
 1.  Andreas Mikkelsen   Skoda UK             2h12m43.2s
 2.  Juho Hanninen       Skoda                   + 25.1s
 3.  Bryan Bouffier      Peugeot               + 2m04.8s
 4.  Sepp Wiegand        Skoda Deutschland     + 5m20.3s
 5.  Hermann Gassner Jr  Red Bull Skoda        + 6m23.9s
 6.  Ricardo Moura       Mitsubishi            + 8m43.5s
 7.  Oleksandr Salyuk    Iurii Chemezov Ford  + 10m28.1s
 8.  Sergio Silva        Subaru               + 16m00.1s
 9.  Ruben Rodrigues     Mitsubishi           + 17m15.0s
10.  Miguel Barbosa      Mitsubishi           + 18m01.6s
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