Looking to develop experience in France
Andreas Mikkselsen and co-driver Ola Floene completed their goal of getting to the finish of Rally Catalunya, and are now in Corsica preparing for Rallye de France – Tour de Course.
"We managed just fine in Catalunya. The roads
there on Sunday's special stages were similar to the roads we will be driving here in Corsica, so we're pleased that we managed to get the car to the end and finish the rally. The rougher Irish roads that we are used to are very different from these smooth ones. We're just more familiar with different conditions and techniques and it's been proper fun learning how to handle these roads!" said Ola Floene, from Corsica.
"Here the drivers cut the driving line more, which brings gravel onto the road, and that calls for a totally different technique. We learnt so much in Spain and will be developing that experience and knowledge here in Corsica. It's really exciting to get our notes good and for us both to feel confident. The more miles the better," he confidently added.
In Rally Catalunya Mikkselsen slid off the road in SS3 at a corner where several other cars went off, and was hit on the bonnet by a car coming off the road after him. The damage meant he couldn't run his Ford Focus WRC 05 at full rally specification for the remainder of Rally Catalunya. This affected his times but didn't affect fulfilling the target.
"It was positive in a way that we went off on SS3 on a corner that is well known for that kind of incident," explained Floene.
"Through that experience Andreas now understands more about how to tackle where gravel has been dragged onto a smooth road surface, and this is something that happens. It was a learning process and the same is happening here. We just drive every stage thinking of next year and the future."
So-called "back-to-back" rallies paired on consecutive weekends can be something of a logistical challenge for teams and drivers and it is important for drivers to schedule time to relax in their programmes. Andreas and Ola set off from Salou as soon as Rally Catalunya was finished and arrived in Corsica at midnight on Sunday. They spent Monday resting and have spent the rest of the week so far focused on their recce and programme with the Ramsport team.
"Our goal for this rally is to learn as much as possible and if we can achieve one or two good stage times it'll be a bonus. We all know Andreas is fast, but he'll be even quicker next year and beyond if we spend this year's event learning the roads and fine-tuning the techniques and notes. It's like endurance racing: at the moment Andreas and I have the experience to drive fast for a few kilometers but to keep it up for the whole rally we need to wait until we have more experience, refined notes and not least, learned more routes," Floene concluded.