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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Mikkelsen leads as spectator points cancels stage seven

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Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen leads an interrupted Rally Poland after World Rally Championship organisers have been pressured to cancel two Friday phases on account of spectator controlling points.

Mikkelsen received two of the three morning phases to open up a 7.4s lead earlier than briefly shedding the benefit to Toyota’s reigning world champion Kalle Rovanpera. After recording his first stage wins since 2019, Mikkelsen managed to reclaim the benefit to finish the afternoon 1.6s forward.

Organisers have been pressured to step in to cancel stage three [Wieliczki] this morning and stage seven [Olecko] within the afternoon, after sections of spectators have been standing in harmful positions.

Amid the truncated proceedings, Toyota’s Evans managed to efficiently restrict the harm of his elevated highway place to emerge as Mikkelsen’s nearest rival. Rovanpera accomplished the afternoon in third [+2.1s] regardless of a rushed preparation for the occasion as a last-minute stand in for injured team-mate Sebastien Ogier.

Rally1 debutant Martins Sesks produced arguably the drive of the day to sit down fourth driving a non-hybrid powered Ford Puma Rally1. M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux [+7.0s], team-mate Gregoire Munster [+20.8s], championship chief Thierry Neuville [+29.6s], who opened the gravel roads, and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta [+32.6s] rounded out the highest eight.

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

Friday afternoon started with the Mikolajki service park receiving a storm warning, however situations remained sizzling and dry heading into stage 5 [Stanczyki 29.40km].

Tyre selection proved to be essential because the second cross by way of the stage created a way more abrasive floor than anticipated.

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Tomasz Kaliński

Toyota appeared finest arrange for the stage after its drivers elected to take two arduous tyres of their tyre packages. Rally chief Mikkelsen additionally opted for that technique but it surely wasn’t sufficient for the Norwegian to guard his benefit on the entrance.

Mikkelsen struggled with gentle tyres on the rear if his i20 N and dropped 14.4s which coincided with Rovanpera delivering his finest drive of the rally thus far to win the stage to leap from fourth to the rally lead by 0.2s.

The Finn, who had a rushed recce and never essentially the most refined pacenotes, benefitted from having already made one cross by way of the stage.

“It’s undoubtedly way more enjoyable within the afternoon once I know the place I’m going,” stated Rovanpera.

Rovanpera claimed the stage win by a margin of 4.7s from Evans, who dropped to 3rd total, 2.4s adrift.

Sesks continued his cost posting the third quickest time, 8.1s slower than Rovanpera, to sit down third total.

Martins Sesks, Renars Francis, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Martins Sesks, Renars Francis, M-Sport Ford World Rally Group Ford Puma Rally1

Picture by: Tomasz Kaliński

These working 4 gentle tyres struggled reaching the stage finish with visibly worn rubber. Fourmaux was fourth quickest forward of the enhancing Katsuta, with Neuville dropping 12.2s in sixth having been affected by highway cleansing.

The rally lead modified arms once more after a crimson flag interrupted stage six [Wieliczki 12.90km]. Organisers have been pressured to cancel the identical take a look at within the morning on account of spectator questions of safety.

The stoppage got here whereas Mikkelsen was within the stage which meant the previous rally chief needed to full in highway mode. Though pissed off by the crimson flag, the notional time truly put him again within the rally lead by two seconds from Evans.

Neuville lit up the timing screens to win the stage, replicating his stage-topping time earlier than it was cancelled within the morning. The Belgian made essentially the most of his cleanest run of the day to pip Katsuta and Evans by 0.2s. The time introduced Neuville inside 8.8s of Munster sitting in fifth total.

Evans’ effort elevated the Welshman forward of Rovanpera by a tenth, however the latter was once more pissed off by his lack of refined pacenotes.

Organisers once more needed to intervene by cancelling stage seven [Olecko 13.20km] on account of small sections of spectators standing in harmful positions.

The stage was halted after Fourmaux, Evans and Neuville handed by way of the take a look at with the previous topping the instances.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Group Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Controlling spectators was a difficulty the final time the WRC visited Poland again in 2017 which resulted within the occasion dropping off the calendar. Poland’s return to the calendar this yr is a one-off.

“Clear choices are being made within the identify of security,” WRC occasion director Simon Larkin advised Autosport.

“One of many unintended penalties of cancelling phases is that messaging does get out saying ‘don’t be an fool’ in any other case you wreck it for everybody and your self. These folks which can be standing in unhealthy positions are wrecking their very own day.

“There are a whole lot of marshals on the market and what we’ve got seen is, for need of a greater phrase there are a whole lot of skilled spectators on the market that know the place to cover when the protection automobiles come by way of after which they flood again out of the forest.

“This isn’t an off-the-cuff fan doing this, these folks know what they’re doing they wish to danger their lives, however we don’t need danger their lives.”

A run by way of the Mikolajki Enviornment tremendous particular stage will full Friday’s working.

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