Basso denies Mikkelsen in thrilling IRC San Marino final-day showdown
Giandomenico Basso denied Andreas Mikkelsen victory in a thrilling final-day showdown on Rally San Marino
Intercontinental Rally Challenge points leader Mikkelsen (Skoda UK) had looked like he might start edging away on Saturday morning, only for Basso to reel him back in. Twice the duo shared the lead on identical times, but as the decisive afternoon progressed it was the Movisport Ford of Basso that started inching ahead.
Although Mikkelsen was quickest on the last two stages, it was to no avail, as Basso clinched victory by 2.8 seconds.
The result was a maiden IRC triumph for the Regional Rally Car derivative of the Ford Fiesta S2000, and Ford's first IRC win since Nasser Al-Attiyah's victory in the 2010 season finale in Cyprus. It also marked Basso's return to the top step of the podium for the first time since Madeira in summer 2009.
Umberto Scandola's Skoda Italia Fabia fell away in third during leg two but remained clear of early leader Sepp Wiegand (Skoda Deutschland).
Jarkko Nikara was comfortably the best Group N runner in fifth with his Tommi Makinen-run Subaru.
Leading finishers after SS13:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Giandomenico Basso Movisport Ford 2h35m56.6s 2. Andreas Mikkelsen Skoda UK + 2.8s 3. Umberto Scandola Car Skoda + 1m41.6s 4. Sepp Wiegand Skoda Deutschland + 2m06.2s 5. Jarkko Nikara Makinen Subaru + 6m12.2s 6. Gergely Szabo Mitsubishi + 10m15.6s 7. Marco Tempestini Subaru + 13m22.6s 8. Gabriele Noberasco Mitsubishi + 13m47.9s 9. Miklos Bujdos Mitsubishi + 14m03.0s 10. Harry Hunt I-Cars Citroen + 14m49.0s
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