Mikkelsen wins IRC Rally of Scotland

Andreas Mikkelsen’s long wait for his first victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge is over after he won RACMSA Rally of Scotland to set up a thrilling six-way battle for the IRC title on the final event of the season in Cyprus next month.

Mikkelsen’s success combined with Juho Hanninen’s second place, hands SKODA its second IRC manufacturers’ title in as many years subject to official confirmation. It also means the 22-year-old from Norway becomes the youngest IRC event winner and the sixth different victor in this year’s IRC such has been the extremely open and competitive nature of the series in 2011. “What a fantastic weekend. We were so close to winning in Hungary and even closer in Sanremo, but we could not have found a better place to score our first IRC win on SKODA UK’s home event. The feeling is just amazing and this result gives us something to really build on for our next rally in Cyprus.”

For Hanninen, second place represented a remarkable reversal of fortune after set-up issues held him back on Saturday morning. The Finn, the winner in Scotland in 2010, was fastest on three of Sunday’s five forest-based tests. “It’s an exciting end to the IRC and second place gets good points for SKODA, which was the main target this weekend. It’s not been an easy rally but I am very happy to finish second.”

Bryan Bouffier was the leading Peugeot finisher in third overall to maintain his title push with Irishman Craig Breen a hugely impressive fourth overall in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta. Peugeot France driver Bouffier overcame brake problems on Sunday. “Of course you always want to be on the top but I have to be happy with my performance for my first time here and on gravel too. The stages were tricky but beautiful at the same time.”

Rally of Scotland results

1 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) SKODA Fabia S2000 1h55m17.2s

2 Juho Hanninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +26.4s

3 Bryan Bouffier (FRA)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m35.3s

4 Craig Breen (IRL)/Gareth Roberts (GBR) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +2m05.1s

5 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) SKODA Fabia S2000 +2m11.7s

6 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m10.4s

7 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +3m11.5s

8 Alastair Fisher (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +4m59.9s

9 Toshi Arai (JPN)/Dale Moscatt (AUS) Subaru Impreza R4 STI +8m17.6s

10 Matthias Kahle (GER)/Peter Gobel (GER) SKODA Fabia S2000 +9m36.1s

Credit: IRCseries.com

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