Rally of Poland: Mikkelsen leader surprise, Tänak abandoned

Rally of Poland: Mikkelsen leader surprise, Tänak abandoned

Norwegian driver Andreas Mikkelsen has taken advantage of the withdrawals, retirements and poor performances to lead the Rally Poland after four stages. Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux is fifth.

After a first special on Thursday evening in the form of duels on a 2.5 kilometer course, which proved favorable to Ott Tänak, winner with a one second lead over Thierry Neuville, the serious things began this Friday at the rally of Poland. And it started in the worst possible way for the leader, going off the road after only 18 kilometers during the first special of the day, and forced to retire! The crew escaped unhurt, but the front of the car was too damaged to continue.

A big blow for Tänak, winner of the last rally in Sardinia, and who hoped to catch up with general classification leader Thierry Neuville this weekend. Fortunately for him, the Belgian, forced to open the road, did not have a dream morning and only occupied seventh place on Friday midday. He notably lost 22 seconds to Andreas Mikkelsen, the Hyundai driver who won SS2, who took the lead in the standings.

The suspense remains

The 35-year-old Norwegian, winner of three rallies during his career, scored his first victory in a special since Wales 2019! And the Hyundai driver confirmed it in SS4, winning it three seconds ahead of Grégoire Munster (Ford), while Neuville, who encountered handbrake problems, conceded another twelve seconds. In the meantime, the Belgian had narrowly won SS3, which was canceled after the passage of the first eight drivers because the safety of the spectators was no longer guaranteed.

Following Sébastien Ogier’s withdrawal, Adrien Fourmaux represents the best French chance this weekend in Poland, and he occupies fifth place in the standings after four stages 15 seconds behind Mikkelsen, just behind double reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä, called by Toyota in disaster to replace Ogier. With four special stages remaining on Friday, the top six are held within sixteen seconds, and the suspense remains. Note the second place of 25-year-old Latvian Martins Sesks, in his Ford Puma, who could well score his first points in the WRC.

General classification after SS4 (out of 19) – Friday 28 June 2024
1- Andreas Mikkelsen – Torstein Eriksen (NOR-NOR/Hyundai) a 30’03″2
Martins Cesks – Renars Francis (LET-LET/Ford M-Sport) à 7″4
3- Elfyn Evans – Scott Martin (GBR-GBR/Toyota) à
4- Kalle Rovenperä – Jonne Halttunen (FIN-FIN /Toyota) à 14″2
5- Adrien Fourmaux – Alexandre Coria (FRA-FRA/Ford M-Sport) at 15″1

Special stage winners
Ott Tänak : 1 (ES1)
Andreas Mikkelsen : 2 (ES2, ES4)
Thierry Neuville: 1 (SS3)

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