Andreas Mikkelsen pulls away from Juho Hanninen in Azores
Andreas Mikkelsen extended his lead over Juho Hanninen during the first four stages on day two of Rally Azores
There was little to choose between the two Skoda drivers until Hanninen had a quick spin near the end of SS5, losing 10 seconds.
Mikkelsen then stretched his advantage on the next stage, and although Hanninen won SS7, he only took a tenth of a second off the reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion. The gap between them now stands at 15.4s.
Bryan Bouffier looks set for third spot in his Peugeot as his sparring partner Bruno Magalhaes rolled his 207 into retirement on SS6.
Leading positions after SS7:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK 1h00m14.4s 2. Juho Hanninen Skoda + 15.4s 3. Bryan Bouffier Peugeot + 1m07.5s 4. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Deutschland + 3m12.1s 5. Hermann Gassner Jr Red Bull Skoda + 3m13.4s 6. Ricardo Moura Mitsubishi + 4m20.3s 7. Oleksandr Salyuk Iurii Chemezov Ford + 5m51.0s 8. Sergio Silva Subaru + 7m36.7s 9. Ruben Rodrigues Mitsubishi + 9m11.2s 10. Rui Lousado Subaru + 9m18.0s
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season