|Andreas Mikkelsen to drive at Rally Monte-Carlo|
Andreas Mikkelsen have not given up the plan to be worldchampion, although Volkswagen Motorsport has withdrawn from the FIA World Rally Championship. Now he has his eyes on the future and the goal is to get in a good position for a works drive in a WRC team in 2018. The road towards that starts already at Rally Monte Carlo in January, where he will be driving for Skoda Motorsport.
After a brilliant season in 2016, where he won two WRC rounds and secured his third strong bronze medal in the championship, Norway's leading rally driver Andreas Mikkelsen found himself in quite a special situation when Volkswagen Motorsport chose to end their rally commitment.
"The consequence of Volkswagen withdrawing from the championship is that all the WRC seats were already taken. Therefore, my 2017 season will be all about keeping my rally-overall warm and finding a seat in the right team to be able to fight for the WRC champion title in 2018. We don't know what the upcoming season will bring yet. But of course I hope to get to drive as much as possible and we are working on a plan to do selected rallies" said Andreas, who will compete already at Rally Monte Carlo in January in a Skoda Fabia R5 for Skoda Motorsport in the WRC2. What happens after that event is still uncertain, but EVEN Management focuses on a programme where Andreas and co-driver Anders Jæger will compete at several WRC rounds during 2017.
Manager Erik Veiby admits that it came as a surprise when Volkswagen Motorsport decided to pull out of the WRC. It turned their plans for the upcoming year completely upside down.
"To be here without a seat for Andreas is a little surreal. We are talking about the driver who beat the world champion at the last event in Australia and who has been third in the championship for three years in a row. Looking at 2016, only Sebastien Ogier, Kris Meeke and Andreas won two or more WRC rounds. Our goal was for Andreas to take the world champion title in 2017. We still believe that he will be world champion, but now we have to pospone those plans until 2018" said Veiby.
Even if there won't be a full WRC season, Andreas looks forward to driving for Skoda in Monte Carlo.
"It feels a bit like coming home. It was Skoda that gave me a chance in the beginning and together we got to celebrate two champion titles in the IRC championship, which gave me the opportunity to drive for Volkswagen Motorsport. Now that the situation is like it is, I think it will be fun to compete for Skoda again. We have many good memories" said the 27-year-old.
"I hope we manage to give Skoda the results they want in Monte Carlo. It is a difficult rally, but I've had good results there before. This year we finished second and it was also Anders' (Jæger) first WRC round in a WRC car. So we were definitely left with a nice feeling from the event - even though it might be the most difficult rally in the WRC" said Andreas.