Mikkelsen sets sights on WRC car re­turn with 2017 Polo af­ter win­ning WRC2 in Monte

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

An­dreas Mikkelsen has set his sights on re­turn­ing to the World Rally Cham­pi­onship’s top flight at the Rally of Por­tu­gal – where he hopes to be driv­ing a 2017 Volk­swa­gen Polo R WRC.

The Nor­we­gian scored WRC2 vic­tory by over three min­utes ahead of team-mate Jan Kopecky aboard a works Skoda Fabia R5 in Monte Carlo last week.

Mikkelsen was the only one of Volk­swa­gen’s three driv­ers not to land a fac­tory seat with an­other team fol­low­ing the Ger­man mar­que’s de­par­ture from the se­ries at the end of last sea­son.

Mikkelsen told MN: “I will do the recce on all the events this year. We had hoped to do Swe­den in the Polo ’17 car, but there was no way to get it ho­molo­gated in time, so we hope to do Por­tu­gal. That would be nice. I want the Polo, it’s the only car I know how to drive – I have done so much test­ing with it, it’s re­ally a pretty spe­cial one.

“I have to look for spon­sors to do it, we try to do Por­tu­gal then Poland – I want to tar­get three events and get back to a fac­tory team for next sea­son. Every­body is work­ing hard, Volk­swa­gen is do­ing ev­ery­thing it can.”

On the sub­ject of his WRC2 win, Mikkelsen added: “It was nice to come and drive and it was a re­ally ex­cit­ing rally and I’m pleased with the re­sult. This was bet­ter than stay­ing at home.”

Mikkelsen ad­mit­ted more Skoda ac­tion was pos­si­ble if he couldn’t tie down the Polo drive.

A late ho­molo­ga­tion for the Han­nover-built car was dis­cussed at a meet­ing be­tween the man­u­fac­tur­ers and the FIA in Monaco last week.

The re­sult of the meet­ing was that more in­for­ma­tion is needed re­gard­ing Volk­swa­gen’s plans for its 2017 car. The teams are con­cerned about the po­ten­tial for a pri­vate squad run­ning the lat­est Polo R WRC to be free from the sport­ing reg­u­la­tions which bind the rest of the teams in ar­eas such as test­ing re­stric­tions and the pair­ing of com­po­nents.

Hyundai team prin­ci­pal Michel Nan­dan told MN: “I have noth­ing against VW, but for me it’s a bit strange that this big de­ci­sion came [about the with­drawal from the WRC] and then sud­denly they need to ho­molo­gate the car. If we start to give the waiver to every­body, then it can be dif­fi­cult. I have noth­ing against them, but I think every­body should re­spect the rules: if you want to ho­molo­gate the car, you have to en­ter the cham­pi­onship.”

FIA rally di­rec­tor Jarmo Ma­ho­nen added: “I un­der­stand Michel’s con­cerns. We had a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion with Citroen [run­ning pri­vate DS 3 WRCS with PH Sport] last year, but Citroen had com­mit­ted to com­ing back to the cham­pi­onship. Volk­swa­gen hasn’t done this.

“Of course it would be good for the cham­pi­onship, but we can­not de­value the cham­pi­onship. The meet­ing was pos­i­tive, the at­mos­phere was good – peo­ple raised their con­cerns and they have the right to do that. I will dis­cuss this with Volk­swa­gen and then we’re go­ing to meet again.”

Volk­swa­gen was re­luc­tant to com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion, but a spokesman told MN: “There will be fur­ther talks and the sit­u­a­tion is open.”

Mikkelsen en­joyed vic­tory but wants WRC car re­turn

Back at Skoda: Mikkelsen

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