IRC - Mikkelsen takes charge early in Cyprus

Andreas Mikkelsen took an early lead at the IRC Cyprus Rally after winning the opening special stage on the streets of Pafos.

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Andreas Mikkelsen

Norway's defending IRC champion completed the 3.2km test in two minutes and 48.6 seconds, his SKODA UK Motorsport Fabia Super 200 coming in ahead of IRC Production Cup contender Jarkko Nikara.

Finland's Nikara effectively stole the show with his brilliant drive in the Subaru Impreza R4 STI, 4.4s behind Mikkelsen and 1.3s quicker than 2010 Cyprus winner Nasser Al-Attiyah in the M-Sport Ford Fiesa RRC.

Japan's Toshi Arai’s Subaru posted the same time as Qatar's Al-Attiyah, with German Sepp Wiegand fifth in the SKODA Auto Deutschland.

Stage two on Saturday morning is a 23.97km test at Koilinia, a mixed tarmac-gravel stage.

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