Turkey WRC: Mikkelsen wins opening stage as Ogier spins
Hyundai driver Andreas Mikkelsen set the fastest time through Rally Turkey’s opening Marmaris test, while a mistake by Sebastien Ogier left the reigning champion 14th after the short city stage.
As the only driver to take a set of medium compound tyres, one grade softer than the rest of the field on hards, Mikkelsen used his grip advantage to go 2.5s faster than Citroen’s Craig Breen in second.
Ogier half-spun into plastic barriers lining the stage when the rear of his Ford Fiesta kicked up over a jump, leaving him unable to slow down in time for the following corner. His mistake cost him 7.5s relative to Mikkelsen.
Toyota’s Ott Tanak went third fastest, with current championship leader Thierry Neuville fourth.
Factory Skoda WRC2 support category driver Jan Kopecky made a surprise appearance in the top five, imitating his outright stage-winning performance on Rally Germany last year to go only 3.4s off Mikkelsen’s pace.
Esapekka Lappi is sixth, with Mads Ostberg seventh and the third Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala in eighth.
M-Sport suffered an especially poor stage. Before Ogier’s mistake put him outside the top 10, his teammates Elfyn Evans could only muster the ninth fastest time.
Kopecky’s teammate Pontus Tidemand put a second WRC2 car in the top 10, which demoted Teemu Suninen in the third M-Sport to 11th.
An untidy run by Hayden Paddon left him 12th, twice overshooting the entry to roundabouts to finish 9.6s off teammate Mikkelsen’s time.
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Turkey WRC: Mikkelsen leads Breen on Friday morning