Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Rally Aus­tralia win­ner An­dreas Mikkelsen ded­i­cated his vic­tory in Coffs Har­bour to the Volk­swa­gen Mo­tor­sport team, which ended its five-year spell in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day.

Amid emo­tional scenes, the Nor­we­gian ad­mit­ted his vic­tory – which came af­ter a straight fight with world cham­pion Se­bastien Ogier – was the high­light of his ca­reer and his time with the Han­nover-based squad.

“I’m so happy and so proud of the team,” said Mikkelsen. “This last vic­tory is for them. They gave me the chance to come into the WRC right from the very be­gin­ning of their time in the cham­pi­onship – and there were many driv­ers to chose from back then. I hope I have given back some of what they have given me.”

While the three works crews will all depart, cer­tain mem­bers of the Han­nover team are ex­pected to re­turn to the WRC next sea­son with pri­vate driv­ers us­ing the 2016-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Polo R WRC.

Team prin­ci­pal Sven Smeets con­firmed to Mo­tor­sport News that this year’s world cham­pi­onship-win­ning car will be avail­able for next sea­son, a move which is seen as the first step in Volk­swa­gen’s shift from a pure fac­tory rally team to a com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion. Work on the firm’s Polo R5 car will be­gin im­mi­nently.

Smeets said: “We are open to ev­ery set-up for driv­ers rent­ing the cars next year. There will al­ways have to be a level of tech­ni­cal en­gi­neer­ing sup­port from us – this Polo is not like an R5 car – but we are open to any­body who is in­ter­ested.”

He added that he was im­pressed with the level of in­ter­est in run­ning a 2016 car. “I’m also not so sur­prised: for the last four years we have had peo­ple ask­ing us if they can rent the car and we have al­ways been say­ing no, but now we can say yes,” said Smeets. “It’s pos­si­ble we could be in Monte Carlo, but we would have to make an agree­ment soon.”

It is un­der­stood Volk­swa­gen has up to 12 cars to rent out for next sea­son.

Pho­tos: mck­lein-im­age­database.com

Mikkelsen won in Aus­tralia The team cel­e­brates first and sec­ond spot

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