With a rally win and a pair of second place finishes this year in his ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000, Intercontinental Rally Challenge leader Andreas Mikkelsen feels confident ahead of Round 4 of the series, the Tour of Corsica (10-12 May), and believes that he’ll be able to profit from his current form and experience of rallying on the picturesque Mediterranean island.
Andreas and co-driver Ola Fløene have done the legendary asphalt rally three times, but it’s the IRC champion’s victory on the island’s smaller regional Ronde De La Giraglia last year that may prove decisive. This year’s final leg is run in the northern-most Cap Corse area of the island near Bastia, and Andreas is the only top IRC driver to have recently rallied on those twisty mountain roads.
Much had changed since 2007 and ’08 when Andreas did the Tour of Corsica as part of the FIA World Rally Championship, although the first two days of this year’s event are similar to last year’s IRC route. Twelve months ago, Andreas was battling for 3rd position with fellow Fabia S2000 driver Freddy Loix, before a puncture two stages from the end cost him almost four minutes and he eventually finished 6th.
Andreas: “After good performances on Tarmac in Gran Canaria and Ireland, I’m really feeling comfortable heading to Corsica. I enjoy the stages and we had a good rally there last year. A lot of the stages are the same, and the final leg of the event near Bastia is on the same stages we did on the Ronde De La Giraglia, so that will definitely be good for us. I’m happy to see Dani Sordo on the starting list; he’ll be a benchmark for us all, and it will be interesting to fight against a top WRC driver on an IRC event.”
This year’s Tour of Corsica is reminiscent of its golden heritage, with a start in Ajaccio, finish in Bastia, a three day, 659.31 mile (1061.06km) route, four main service areas and two additional refuel points. The rally begins in Ajaccio at 13.00 on Thursday 10 May, before three long stages (totaling 42.06 miles/67.7kms) along the west coast before service and finish in Calvi.
Leg 2 leaves Calvi at 07.00 on Friday 11 May and heads inland to Corte, where a further five stages (totaling 72.3 miles/116.37kms) await in the nearby mountains, as well as service at the airport. The leg finishes in Bastia at 21.15.
The third and final leg on Saturday 12 May starts at 08.35 and contains six stages (two repeated three times) with service in the fishing village of Macinaggio. With 84.42 miles (135.87kms) remaining, distance-wise it’s the longest day of the event, as it contains the Marinca-Cagnano stage which, at 18.64 miles (30kms), is the longest of the rally. The event finishes in Bastia at 20.00 after a total of 14 stages and a competitive distance of 198.8 miles (319.94kms).
Eurosport will broadcast two stages live on Friday 11 May and three stages on Saturday 12 May. In total there will be five hours of live coverage from Corsica, plus daily round-up shows and the Inside IRC program, which will be transmitted after the event. Check TV listings for times and more details.