Andreas Mikkelsen has admitted he is lucky to remain in the Circuit of Ireland Rally after smashing a wheel on the opening stage of Saturday morning.
The Skoda UK Motorsport star is lying second to fellow Fabia driver Juho Hanninen as the crews head into the second loop of stages, but he says his hopes of victory on this event could easily have ended on leg two's opener.
"I was lucky, very lucky," said Mikkelsen. "We were flat in sixth gear when we ran wide and smashed the right-rear wheel against a rock. We were lucky not to get a puncture and even more lucky not to have the wheel disintegrate. We were only five kilometres into the stage, but we got through."
Having predicted the fastest driver would not win this rally, Mikkelsen has now admitted he is driving as quickly as possible.
"It's flat out," he said. "We can't go any faster. As long as it stays dry, we'll keep on pushing. I think it will be dry for this loop, but there could be some rain in the last loop - it's going to be interesting all the way. There are nine seconds between us, which is just some seconds."