SPORTS


Germany WRC: Mikkelsen leads after Friday morning loop

Baku, August 18, AZERTAC

Andreas Mikkelsen leads Rally Germany for Citroen on just his third appearance with the team, according to motorsport.com.

Mikkelsen, who began the 2017 season without a World Rally Car drive after Volkswagen's exit, established himself in second through Friday morning's early stages and then grabbed the lead with a commanding performance on Grafschaft.

Fastest with a 7.4-second margin over the field, Mikkelsen usurped M-Sport Ford driver Ott Tanak to take first overall by 4.8s.

Hyundai driver Dani Sordo had briefly led following the Wadern superspecial that opened the day, but fell to fourth on Mittelmosel and then crashed out less than a mile onto the next stage.

Sebastien Ogier recovered from a quick spin on the superspecial to hold third behind M-Sport teammate Tanak.

Ogier is three places and 12.2s ahead of his WRC title rival Thierry Neuville, who went off through a vineyard early on Mittelmosel and has been carrying aerodynamic damage since.

The championship combatants are split by Elfyn Evans and Jari-Matti Latvala, who are just 0.5s apart in fourth and fifth.

Esapekka Lappi, Craig Breen and Juho Hanninen have all had trips off the road as well, leaving them in seventh through ninth positions - Lappi regaining some ground by going second-quickest to Mikkelsen on Grafschaft.

Hayden Paddon trails his fellow WRC crews in 10th after picking up a puncture on the last stage, while Kris Meeke runs outside the top 40, having rejoined with a 10-minute penalty following his Thursday superspecial crash.

Shock overnight leader Jan Kopecky inevitably fell back in his R5 Skoda Fabia once the full-length stages got under way, but still heads WRC2 in 11th overall ahead of teammate Pontus Tidemand and M-Sport's Teemu Suninen.

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