Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen Leads Interrupted Rally Poland in WRC

    In the latest development from the World Rally Championship (WRC), Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen has taken the lead in Rally Poland after a tumultuous day of action.

    Mikkelsen won two of the three morning stages to establish a 7.4-second advantage over reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä of Toyota. However, Rovanperä briefly reclaimed the lead before Mikkelsen managed to regain the advantage, ending the afternoon 1.6 seconds ahead.

    The event was not without its challenges, as the rally organizers were forced to cancel two stages on Friday due to spectator safety issues. Stage 3 (Wieliczki) and Stage 7 (Olecko) were both halted after sections of spectators were found to be standing in dangerous positions.

    “Clear decisions are being made in the name of safety,” said WRC event director Simon Larkin.

    Despite the truncated proceedings, Toyota’s Elfyn Evans successfully limited the damage of his elevated road position to emerge as Mikkelsen’s closest rival. Rovanperä completed the afternoon in third, +2.1s, despite a rushed preparation for the event as a last-minute stand-in for the injured Sebastien Ogier.

    The surprise of the day came from Rally1 debutant Martins Sesks, who drove a non-hybrid powered Ford Puma Rally1 to an impressive fourth place. M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux (+7.0s), team-mate Gregoire Munster (+20.8s), championship leader Thierry Neuville (+29.6s), and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta (+32.6s) rounded out the top eight.

    Hyundai’s Ott Tänak retired from the lead after a collision with a deer on stage two.

    Controlling spectator behavior has been an ongoing challenge for the WRC in Poland, with the event previously being dropped from the calendar in 2017 due to similar issues.

    A run through the Mikolajki Arena super special stage will conclude Friday’s action in what has been a highly eventful day of WRC competition.

    🔗 Source