On Saturday, the new successful duo in the ŠKODA FABIA R5 extended their lead over team-mates Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler to 3:19.2 minutes. The second ŠKODA works duo of Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson recorded one best time on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Norwegian drove in challenging conditions once again - clean asphalt road surfaces disappeared in the mountains around the service park in Gap, France, to be replaced by snow-covered stages - but he never lost control of his FABIA R5.
In the first two morning stages, he let his team-mate Kopecký and Bryan Bouffier move ahead but then showed just how fast he can be with outstanding best times on special stages 11 and 13. Mikkelsen has dominated the first two days of the rally, recording the best time on six out of seven stages.
On Saturday, Jan Kopecký won his second special stage at this year's Monte and was never in danger of losing second place.
The ŠKODA works duo of Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson, who are not competing for WRC2 points at this rally, did not have such a smooth drive on Saturday. The duo suffered two punctures on this sunny day, but recorded an impressive best time in the RC2 class in the penultimate special stage to announce their return.
Last year, Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm won the WRC2 title in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ competitions for the first time for the ŠKODA Motorsport works team.
The teams have already rallied along more than 300 kilometres at this opening round of the 2017 World Rally Championship but the real high point of the oldest rally in the world is yet to come for the three ŠKODA works team drivers. The rally cars have to deal with a difference in elevation of over 1100 metres on their way to the Col de Turini (1607 metres). This is followed by the last four special stages in the Principality of Monaco and the awards ceremony at the “Place du Palais Princier”. 40 years ago, Václav Blahna and his co-driver Lubislav Hlávka claimed victory with their ŠKODA 130 RS in the 1,300cc class. The three ŠKODA Motorsport’s FABIA R5s are commemorating this triumph with a special livery. On Sunday at the Rallye Monte Carlo, ŠKODA Motorsport could set another milestone in its 116-year history of success.
|Rallye Monte Carlo 2017 - WRC2 standings after the Day 3:|
|1.||Mikkelsen / Jæger (N/N)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||3:35:25.9 hrs|
|2.||Kopecký / Dresler (CZ/CZ)||ŠKODA FABIA R5||+ 3:19,2 min|
|3.||Bouffier / Giraudet (F/ F)||Ford Fiesta R5||+ 5:26,7 min|
|4.||Camilli / Veillas (F/F)||Ford Fiesta R5||+ 8:42,7 min|
|5.||Gilbert / Jamoul (F/B)||Ford Fiesta R5||+ 9:48,4 min|
The number of the day: 4
Thousands of fans were entertained on Saturday, on and off the track. At the service park in Gap, France, the spectators were able to watch the mechanics at work on the rally cars no less than four times. However, there is no service on Sunday. On Saturday evening, all the cars were transported to the parc fermé in Monaco, where the winner of the Rallye Monte Carlo will be crowned on the final day.