Mikkelsen fourth fastest in shakedown as he makes Citroën debut

Credit: Citroen Racing

Former Volkswagen works driver Andreas Mikkelsen got to work quickly behind the wheel of the Citroën C3 WRC during shakedown for the 2017 Rally Italia Sardegna, setting the fourth fastest time in the process.

Mikkelsen completed three runs of the the 4.15km-long Olmedo stage before returning to service to adjust his set-up. Following the changes to the car the Norwegian set the fourth fastest time of the session with a 2:33.1.

“The priority this morning was to get a good feeling in the Citroën C3 WRC.” said Mikkelsen. “We are still learning about the car and the shakedown helped us to get into ‘rally mode’.

“Building on what I had already learned in testing, this morning’s shakedown helped me to increase my knowledge of the car and to gain a better understanding of its reactions in various conditions…

“It’s all about feeling in rallying and that’s what we’re trying to develop as we complete more kilometres in the car.”

Citroën team-leader Kris Meeke suffered loose suspension tie rod on his first pass through shakedown which limited his time, despite this he completed the mandatory three runs through stage to set the seventh fastest time.

“We had a minor technical problem on the first pass. Nothing serious – that’s part of what the shakedown is for, to check that everything is working well on the car.” said Meeke.

“After heading back to service, we did a couple more runs. There were some deep ruts on the road by that point, with only one proper racing line.

“It’s difficult to work on the set-up when conditions are like that, but our times were pretty good. I’m looking forward to the start of the rally.”

Craig Breen was in a tyre conserving mode on his shakedown and could only manage a time good enough for eleventh position.

“This shakedown wasn’t easy to get to grips with, but it went well.” revealed Breen. “Although you can’t cover everything you’re going to encounter in a rally on a four-kilometre stage, we did learn some interesting things.

“In order to conserve our tyres for the next few days, we went with a less than ideal tyre choice. Taking that into account, we’re pleased with our times.

“We improved by more than ten seconds between the first and the third run. That just goes to show how significant cleaning is in Sardinia.” he added.