Targeting points on his return with Skoda
Last year Andreas Mikkelsen was the youngest point scorer in a WRC round. So far this year he has focused on the Norwegian Subaru Cup and Group N in the Norwegian Championship, but now Mikkelsen is back in a World Rally Car.
Rally Poland starts on 25th June, Mikkelsen and his co-driver, Ola Floene, will be taking part in a Skoda Fabia WRC. The duo, who have achieved incredible results in their Subaru Impreza with, among other things, an overall victory in Rally Sorland Norway and the South Swedish Rally, are ready once again to take on the best rally drivers in the world.
“It'll be great to be behind the wheel of a WRC car again," Mikkelsen began. "I really feel I'm ready now. The last six months of driving in group N have definitely made me a better driver."
The Skoda Mikkelsen and Floene will be driving is owned by Bernhard Kongsrud and was last driven by Patrik Sandell from Sweden in Rally Hedemarken last year.
Since then, the car has had a complete makeover, including a new engine. The car is the newer of the two Skoda WRC cars that Kongsrud owns. During Rally Poland, Mikkelsen will have a service team from Skoda Motorsport in the Czech Republic.
“We will be taking the Skoda for a two-day test drive in Norway next week, but I haven't tried it yet," Mikkelsen continued. "As far as the conditions we are expecting in Poland are concerned, I have heard that they will be very similar to those in Rally Finland, which means fast and good gravel roads. Even though I don't know much about the car and the roads in Poland, my goal is of course to win points.
That means he must be among the top eight. Considering that both Petter and Henning Solberg and also Mads Ostberg are in the same league, Norwegian drivers could dominate the top places in Rally Poland.
There are good reasons and a long-term plan behind Mikkelsen and Floene's return to the international rally circus at this stage.
“There are mainly two reasons why we have chosen Rally Poland for Andreas' return to the WRC," Mikkelsen's Manager Erik Veiby stated. "Firstly, this is a new event and everyone will start on an equal footing and be just as unfamiliar with the roads. The fact that this is a new event also means that it is important for Andreas to become acquainted with the conditions with a view to the future. The second reason is that we believe Andreas and Ola will stand a good chance with a Skoda Fabia WRC in this event.”
The roads in Poland are relatively narrow, but fast, and he regards Mikkelsen's start in Poland as an important step on the road to an international career.
“It's no secret that we have made long-term plans and Andreas will also be making other international appearances later this year.”