Andreas Mikkelsen was quickest in shakedown for Rallye Sanremo, round nine of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which got under way with the first of 13 stages this afternoon.
The 22-year-old from Norway, at the wheel of a Skoda UK Fabia Super 2000, set a time of 1m53.4s through the 1.67-mile course between the villages of Pompeiana and Castellaro east of Sanremo.
Bryan Bouffier, in a Peugeot France 207 S2000, was second quickest with Peugeot Sport Portugal's Bruno Magalahes next up in another 207. Briton Guy Wilks was fourth fastest in his Peugeot UK 207 with Umberto Scandola the leading Italian driver in fifth overall in his Ford Fiesta S2000.
"You couldn't do any setup work on the shakedown stage because it was so different than any other stage on the rally, so we just used it to make sure everything works on the car and for me to get a good feeling," said Mikkelsen.
Championship leader Jan Kopecky recorded the seventh best time in his factory Skoda, one position behind main title rival Freddy Loix in another Fabia.