Andreas On A Night Vision Mission In Sanremo
Posted on 19 September 2011
With perfect young night driving vision, Andreas Mikkelsen adores rallying in the dark – so even without much experience of the Sanremo Rally (22-24 September), the 22-year old ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 driver is aiming for a good result on the event, thanks, in part, to a planned attack over the long 27.34 mile (44km) Ronde stage which takes place at night.
Run on switchback mountain roads high above the Italian Riviera, the Sanremo Rally is steeped in history. Many drivers know the twisty asphalt stages very well, but Andreas has only attempted the event once before.
Together with co-driver by Ola Fløene, the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy driver arrives in Sanremo on top form, having led the previous three rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). Following the Mecsek Rallye in Hungary, he’s also extended his record number of stage wins this season to 22.
The Sanremo Rally might not be too familiar to Andreas, but ŠKODA UK Motorsport brings a lot of experience with it to the event – not least in the form of its team co-ordinator, Dario D’Esposito. He has contested the event 15 times as a co-driver, finishing a career best 2nd overall in 2006 with Andrea Aghini. He has also done many regional events in the area and lives in the village of Colle San Bartolomeo – between SS9 and 10 on this year’s route!
Andreas: “Sanremo is a classic rally with a lot of history. It’s sometimes harder for me on those types of rallies, because other competitors have done them many more times than I have and they know the roads so well. But it all adds to the challenge for me and, as we saw at the Barum Rally, some drivers have done rallies a lot and I can still be on the pace. Everything is possible!
“There are some fantastic rally roads around Sanremo and I’m looking forward to the really long night stage in particular because I enjoy driving in the dark and that one stage could decide the outcome of the rally. It will be a big challenge for sure, and I have a good opportunity there.
“We’ve had the pace to fight at the top in the last three rounds of the IRC, so that is the aim in Sanremo as well.”
The Sanremo Rally starts on Friday 23 September at 13.20. Leg 1 is similar to last year’s route and contains seven stages totaling 72.13 miles (116.09kms). Three stages (Coldirodi, Bajardo and Bignone) will run in the afternoon, the same three are repeated in late afternoon after a service half in Sanremo and then the day ends with the challenging Ronde stage at night, which is a amalgamation of all three stages and link sections. With the first car not scheduled to enter overnight parc ferme until 00.41, it will be a long and demanding first day.
Leg 2 begins at 09.01 on Saturday 24 September and contains three classic Sanremo stages (Colle Langan, Passo Teglia and Colle d’Oggia). The first two could be particularly demanding, as there is only a short 2.53 mile (4.08km) road section between them, allowing very little time to adjust tyre pressures, change wheels or make emergency repairs. The stage loop totals 34.07 miles (54.84kms) and it’s repeated in the afternoon before the ceremonial finish in Sanremo at 18.30.
Eurosport will broadcast edited highlights of the event, so please check TV listings for details.