Mikkelsen wins at Rally Hungary to hit back at doubters

Andreas Mikkelsen recorded a comfortable victory at Rally Hungary and believes the performance should go a long way to silencing those who doubt him

Mikkelsen wins at Rally Hungary to hit back at doubters

On his first competitive outing in almost a year, the Norwegian led the European Rally Championship tarmac event for all but one stage to finish over 90 seconds clear of top ERC1 Junior finisher, Gregoire Munster.

A late push handed Efren Llarena third place - a career best result for the Spaniard - with the decision to bolt on wet tyres for the last two stages enough to keep Oliver Solberg in fourth.

Showing few signs of rustiness, Mikkelsen barely put a wheel wrong all weekend in his Topp-Cars Rally Team-run Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.

Despite the margin of his win, the former Volkswagen and Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Championship driver was at pains to stress that he "stayed within the limits".

"It has been a good weekend," he said. "I have not been competing only testing so far this season.

"As many people will know, tarmac has been really difficult for me and people maybe thought I could not drive on tarmac anymore, so it's nice to come here and show that we've still got it and we're still fast."

While many had predicted a Mikkelsen triumph, the Norwegian found it difficult to shake off 2018 ERC champion Alexey Lukyanuk in the opening exchanges.

Even though the changeable road conditions led to Mikkelsen spinning on Saturday's third stage and costing him in the region of "10 to 15 seconds", he still led the event by just over five seconds.

What had been shaping up to be an intriguing battle was over as soon as it had begun when Lukyanuk arrived at the time control of the first afternoon stage early.

That resulted in an immediate five-minute penalty and ended any hopes the Citroen C3 R5 driver had of fighting for a second ERC victory of 2020.

He subsequently apologised for his reaction to the mistake made by his co-driver Dmitry Eremeev.

"I need to be smoother on people and also smoother on situations," admitted the Russian.

His demise promoted MRF Racing's Craig Breen into second place and meant he inherited the task of trying to eat into Mikkelsen's lead. The Irishman ended Saturday strongly but bad luck lay in wait on Sunday's third test when his Hyundai i20 R5 developed engine problems towards the end of 'Kokapu'.

"I don't know exactly what caused this - we need to get the car back to the workshop and see exactly," said Breen, whose wait for a first ERC podium of the year continues.

"There is no point pointing fingers and blaming anyone. There was a little warning, but not so much, and I think by the time the warning came [up on the dash], the damage was already done."

shares
comments
Paddon: Rallying risks being "left behind" by not embracing green technology

Previous article

Paddon: Rallying risks being "left behind" by not embracing green technology

Next article

Mikkelsen targets World Rally Championship return on Rally Monza

Mikkelsen targets World Rally Championship return on Rally Monza
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Andreas Mikkelsen
Author Jason Craig
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. Autosport ranks the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021
The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season Plus

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The World Rally Championship was hit hard by the pandemic, but the organisers and teams pulled together to deliver an enthralling campaign that produced five winners and a shock twist in the tail

WRC
Jan 1, 2021