WRC Turkey: Mikkelsen overcomes Breen to reclaim lead

Andreas Mikkelsen overcame Craig Breen to lead Rally Turkey at the end of the opening morning of the first all-new World Rally Championship event in eight years

WRC Turkey: Mikkelsen overcomes Breen to reclaim lead

Citroen driver Breen had burst to the front on Friday's long first stage Cetibeli, on which most drivers complained vociferously that the three-minute gaps between cars were inadequate with dust hanging in the air and hampering visibility.

Breen joked that he was ignoring the lack of ability to see the route and just doing what co-driver Scott Martin told him, opening up a 4.8-second lead over Thursday night superspecial winner Mikkelsen's Hyundai.

But, haunted by thoughts of his litany of opening-day problems this year, Breen's pace faded as he played it cautiously on the extremely rough roads later in the morning.

Mikkelsen closed in and then jumped into a 6.3s lead by winning the Cicekli stage that closed the loop.

Breen is now under pressure for second from his Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg, who is just 1.9s behind him.

WRC leader Thierry Neuville expected running first on the road to be a major impediment, but benefited from everyone else being in his dust on Cetibeli and from the road surface then getting rougher for those further down the order.

Winning middle stage Ula brought Neuville up from his early sixth place to fourth, ahead of team-mate Hayden Paddon and the lead Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala.

Neuville's title rivals Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tanak both struggled particularly badly in the Cetibeli dust and were only eighth and ninth after SS2.

Ogier is now up to seventh ahead of Esapekka Lappi and just 0.4s behind Latvala, but Tanak - winner of the last two rallies - is still ninth, albeit now within 0.8s of Lappi.

Teemu Suninen completes the top 10, while his M-Sport Ford team-mate Elfyn Evans has had a terrible morning.

An impact with a bank while unsighted by dust on Cetibeli caused an early time loss, and then what the team suspected was differential damage left Evans limping to the end of Ula.

Evans initially looked set to have to retire, before being instructed to continue in a car he said reminded him of being in an R2 spec machine. He is already nearly three minutes from the front.

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Leading positions after SS4

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 57m33.2s
2 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 6.3s
3 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 8.2s
4 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 13.1s
5 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 20.4s
6 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 23.2s
7 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 23.6s
8 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 32.1s
9 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 33.4s
10 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 48.1s



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About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Andreas Mikkelsen , Craig Breen
Author Matt Beer
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