Mikkelsen hands over the lead to Kopecky
Andreas Mikkelsen has a plan and according to that plan he is to start tomorrow’s special stages of Rally Islas Canarias from the second place and behind Jan Kopecky. To put that plan to work Mikkelsen opted to slow down on the last stage of the day and lose few seconds to let Kopecky take the provisional lead in the overall standings.
Despite deliberately dropping to second place, Mikkelsen had a pretty colourful day and was even near to retirement when it all almost went wrong for him on special stage 7.
“I had a big moment a few kilometres from the end, went off and jumped into the road again. The car feels okay, I am extremely lucky,” said the Norwegian. “The tyres were like gravel tyres towards the end, very worn.”
With two stages to go and after the scare on SS 7 Mikkelsen’s lead was cut to just 3.6 seconds ahead of Kopecky. Czech was happy with his pace but also very cautious after the following, eight stage, warning that it could all be lost on final stage of the day, tackled on the karting track. Despite that, and thanks to Mikkelsen’s being extra careful after surviving SS 7, Kopecky further reduced the gap to just 1.1 seconds.
Final ninth stage of the day saw Kopecky take the lead after Mikkelsen’s slow down, but with only 1.2 seconds separating the Škoda duo, victory is pretty much up for grabs. Finally, Hermann Gassner ended the day on fourth spot, 20.3 seconds behind third placed Luis Monzon.
Now, if only Gassner can take third spot and the leading two remain as they are now, I would be able to claim second consequtive perfect podium prediction for IRC. Too bad I wasn’t able to invest six figures into it! ;)