Andreas Mikkelsen returns to the top class of the World Rally Championship: – Very nice

Andreas Mikkelsen returns to the top class of the World Rally Championship: – Very nice

Andreas Mikkelsen (34 years old) returns to the top class of the World Rally Championship. The employer will be Hyundai.

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  • 2019 was the last time the Norwegian drove in this category, also for Hyundai.
  • In two of the last three years, he has been world champion in the second highest class, both with Skoda.
  • Mikkelsen won 1st division WC bronze in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for Volkswagen.

– It’s been a long way back. “It’s really nice to be here,” Mikkelsen tells VG from Hyundai’s factory in Germany.

– Did you doubt that you would come back?

– Yes, I wasn’t sure if I’d get another chance. After all, I am older and mentally preparing for the fact that no new opportunity will come. Now I get it anyway. It is a nice.

-It’s an amazing opportunity I’m getting. Not just for next year, but the possibility of the future. But then I have to deliver. Everything is up to me.

Andreas Mikkelsen last raced in the top WC class in 2018 and 2019, then also for Hyundai. He wasn’t exactly friends with that car.

– Now there is a completely new car, new rules and new people. I can’t wait to test drive that car. It will happen until next week. Hyundai has many of the technicians I worked with at VW, so it looks pretty good.

Andreas Mikkelsen is originally an alpine climber, but joined when Peter Northug (10th) took the Gantelobet in 2019.

Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak will be Hyundai’s main drivers as before, but Mikkelsen will drive the third car and will have roughly half of the World Championship season under his belt. The other two in this car are Esapekka Lappi and Dani Sordo.

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“I will drive all the asphalt races, including the opening with the Monte Carlo Rally,” says Mikkelsen, who has lived in Monaco for many years.

– My job will be to help Neuville and Tänak become world champions, and regain the manufacturers’ title from Toyota to Hyundai.

After making a big impression with Skoda in the second most expensive category in 2023, Mikkelsen received offers from both Ford and Hyundai. This is how the Korean car manufacturer ended up.

In 2023, only four drivers have driven all races in the World Championship; Ott Tänak (Ford), Esapekka Lappi (Hyundai), Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) and world champion Kalle Rovanpera (Toyota).

Torsten Eriksen (TV) and Andreas Mikkelsen celebrate winning the gold medal in the WC in the second best WC category in 2023. It happened with the ŠKODA Talksport Team.

-If you perform well, there will definitely be opportunities in the coming years. I have great confidence in this.

With him as a map reader, he got Torstein Eriksen – so it’s a completely Norwegian car.

“It’s not possible to get a better map reader,” says Mikkelsen.

Andreas Mikkelsen made his debut in the World Rally Championship as early as 2006. By then he had put a promising Alpine career behind him to focus on motorsport. He drove for five years for Volkswagen – resulting in three bronzes in the toilets.

Note: Norway has one WRC gold medalist – Petter Solberg, almost 20 years ago.

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Najuma Ojukwu

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