Hankook's Andreas Mikkelsen Gains IRC Points in Azores
Hankook driver Andreas Mikkelsen celebrated after an eventful finale to the Stat Rallye Acores over the weekend resulting in an impressive fourth overall. During the three day event the Hankook crew of Mikkelsen and co-driver Ole Fløene recorded their maiden IRC fastest time and challenged more experienced teams on their first visit to the island and only their second rally on gravel using the M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 on Hankook tyres.
The Norweigen rally ace was comfortably running in the top five on the IRC event until a herd of cows, that had strayed, obstructed the stage causing Mikkelsen to hit them, consequently damaging the crews Ford Fiesta S2000. When speaking about the incident Mikkelsen said: "We were flat-out in sixth-gear and 50 metres after a big crest there was eight or ten cows in the middle of the road. We had to put the car into the ditch where we hit two of the cows. It was a scary moment."
The pair then suffered an unrelated mechanical problem and had to complete the final tough high speed tests with no power steering. This proved to be a real challenge due to the winding gravel roads on the course.
However, the Hankook crew were determined to pick up valuable championship points and despite the problems they faced during the race they finished in a remarkable fourth place.
The Hankook crew were delighted with the result, Mikkelsen said: “The goal was to be at the podium here. But after the drama on stage 14, I must be happy to get to the finish. After all, this is our best result in the IRC series so far.”
Their efforts were praised by Hankook UK motorsport manager Mike Patterson who is responsible for the seven round IRC programme with Andreas and the M-Sport Fiesta, “So much has been put into preparing for these events that we are pleased these efforts have been rewarded with a tremendous result for the team.”
The Hankook IRC team now takes a brief summer recess before resuming competition on the Barum Czech Rally Zlin at the end of August.