Hanninen displaces Mikkelsen after Ireland win
Juho Hanninen displaced Andreas Mikkelsen as the highest IRC driver in the Castrol EDGE Rankings following his Circuit of Ireland victory.
The pair had been locked in battle throughout the weekend, with the lead changing hands on a regular basis as they blitzed the rest of the field.
Mikkelsen had handed Hanninen a slight reprieve with a small error on Saturday morning, but he charged back and was once again in contention when the decisive moment came late on in the day.
The Norwegian made a mistake on the Lisburn street stage, hitting a protected bale barrier at high speed and losing just over 40s.
That assured Hanninen, who had been fending off Mikkelsen superbly, of his first victory in the IRC since his Azores triumph in July 2011.
As a result the Finn shot up 14 spots to 45th, his highest rankings for more than six months.
That rise carried him above Mikkelsen even as the Norwegian made his own gains, improving 2 spots to 50th – matching his highest ever ranking.
Mikkelsen was able to complete the final three stages following his accident, but was taken to hospital after he reported he felt unwell.
Medical checks showed he had perforated his eardrum, but no serious injuries were discovered and he was subsequently declared fit.
The Skoda UK driver continues to lead the IRC points standings as a result of his second-place finish, 18 points ahead of Hanninen, who missed the second round.
Jan Kopecky, who win in Spain, remains third but was unable to live with either Hanninen or Mikkelsen in Ireland.
The Czech driver finished more than 90s down in what was a lonely third in the sister Skoda.
He did not move in the Rankings, maintaining his position of 68th.
Further down the order there were huge gains for Craig Breen and Sepp Wiegand, who finished fifth and seventh respectively.
Breen, competing with Sainteloc Peugeot squad, was able to crack the top five despite being delayed by 90s of penalties on Friday night following a fuel pump failure.
He gained 54 spots as a result, moving to a new high of 322nd in the Rankings as a result.
That was eclipsed by Wiegand however, as the German also reached a new high following his seventh place finish with the Skoda Deutschland team.
Having only broken into the Rankings in August, that result catapulted him 103 places to 614th.