Guy Wilks started the day on top but any hopes the Englishman had of claiming his first Intercontinental Rally Championship victory since his maiden success in Scotland two years ago came unstuck early on Saturday morning watched by millions live on Eurosport television.
Having set the early pace on Friday night's two special tests in Carron Valley to the south of Perth, Wilks made a small error on the day's second test on Drummond Hill to lose the lead to Mikkelsen. He then made a bigger mistake on the following Errochty stage, spinning his Peugeot UK-supported 207 S2000 into a stageside ditch and dropping more than six minutes.
"I was pushing like hell and pushed too hard and made a mistake," he admitted. "The car ended up beached and it took us several minutes to get it out. I'm massively disappointed as we can't now get the result we wanted."
Home hero Alister McRae was another to encounter problems. Having taken his Proton into the top ten, the Scot was forced out of the event before the lunchtime 'rally regroup' in Perth city centre with an engine issue.
Wilks's misfortune handed the initiative to the on-form Mikkelsen. The 22-year-old Norwegian - winner of four of the day's five special stages - is now well on target to score his maiden IRC win after several near misses in recent rounds.
"It's been a really good day for us today," admitted the speedy Scandinavian. "The conditions have been very difficult, but I've actually found a lot of confidence. We have a nice lead now, but it's still a long way to go tomorrow and we cannot back off too much. If you ease off a little it's easy to lose a lot of time - and it's also easy to lose your concentration. I want to continue at a good pace and try to maintain our lead to the finish."
With the day's final stage being cancelled due to deteriorating track conditions in the forests, Mikkelsen arrived back in Perth with a 50.7 second advantage over the Peugeot of Monte Carlo Rally winner Bryan Bouffier with reigning IRC champion Juho Hanninen's Skoda a further second adrift.
After troubles with a loose battery connection in his intercom on Friday night, David Bogie, the newly crowned Scottish and British Rally Champion clawed his way into the top ten and is now less than 12 seconds behind Finland's Jarkko Nikara in the race for top honours in the Group N class for production cars - a gap the Scot will be trying to bridge tomorrow.
Sunday's closing action now switches to the equally daunting forests of Stirlingshire with six further special stages totalling more than 50 competitive miles facing the 31 surviving crews from the 37 starters. Appropriately the victor will be crowned tomorrow afternoon at Scone Palace near Perth, the historical site of the coronations of the Kings of Scots.
2011 RAC MSA Rally of Scotland (after 8 of 15 special stages):
1. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene (NOR/NOR) Skoda Fabia S2000 58m 52.8s
2. Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (FRA/FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +50.7s
3. Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (FIN/FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +51.7s
4. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL/BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m 25.8s
5. Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (IRL/GBR) Ford Fiesta S2000 +1m 28.5s
6. Patrik Sandell/Staffan Parmander (SWE/SWE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m 33.9s
7. Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (CZE/CZE) Skoda Fabia S2000 +1m 43.4s
8. Jarkko Nikara/Petri Nikara (FIN/FIN) Mistubishi Lancer Evo IX +2m 22.2s
9. Toni Gardemeister/Tapio Suommen (FIN/FIN) Skoda Fabia S2000 +2m 27.3s
10. David Bogie/Kevin Rae (GBR/GBR) Mistubishi Lancer Evo IX +2m 33.0s