Mikkelsen cuts down Loeb lead in Azores Rallye
Norwegian driver reduces the gap after the morning loop
A warm day and a dry surface are the background for the final day of 2023 TER – Tour European Rally round 3, Azores Rallye.
Overnight leaders Sébastien Loeb and partner Laurène Godey are the first crew on the road. Comfortably second fastest in the four morning stages, they retain the lead with a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, ahead of Toksport team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Torstein Eriksen. The Norwegian, 2-time winner in Azores, took a clean sweep of stage wins, closing in within 11.6 seconds from Loeb at the mid-day service.
Completing a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 provisional podium, Ole Christian Veiby with Stig Rune Skjærmoen are pushing to keep their pursuants at bay. Spanish Nil Solans, codriven by Marc Marti has set three consecutive third fastest stage times, jumping from sixth to fourth overall after the day’s opener.
The battle for fifth place continues between Erik Cais, with Petr Těšínský, and the local crew of Ricardo Moura and António Costa. The Czech driver, fourth fastest in stage 8, took the upper hand over his rival and climbed into fifth, then set second best time on SS9 increasing his advantage to 3.2 seconds.
Behind them, Luis Miguel Rego with Jorge Henriques are slowly increasing their lead over siblings Ruben and Estevão Rodrigues. Ninth place is occupied by Bruno Amaral codriven by Sancho Eiró in a Ford Fiesta, and the top ten is completed by Pablo Diez and Axel Coronado’s Fabia R5.