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