Through an official video, Andreas Mikkelsen revealed the ambitious program that he will face in 2021 with the aim of reintegrating into the WRC by 2022. After learning that he will contest the next season of WRC 2 with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo from Toksport, now Norwegian announced that they will not only fight for the title in this category but also in the ERC, on board the same car. In addition, the Nordic revealed that his 2021 will include development testing with the Rally2 that Skoda will launch in 2022 and also assured that he plans to race in selected events with a World Rally Car.
During the past week, Mikkelsen had already published an informative video blog on his YouTube channel, which reported that Anders Jaeger had decided to stop being his navigator, since “he would not be in a position to maintain motivation for a 2021 so full of travel ” . Momentarily, Toksport has revealed that for the Monte Carlo Rally, the Norwegian driver will be accompanied again by Ola Floene, a co-driver who read his roadmap for nine years until the 2015 season.
However, with the declaration that 2021 would be “very travel-laden” , Mikkelsen had already hinted that his program for next year would include many more projects than WRC 2. Well, a week after these tracks , all the details were revealed by the Norwegian in his Vlog series, My Life, where he reported how he will work to return to the World Rally Championship for the 2022 season.
As mentioned by Mikkelsen, his 2021 program will also include the full season of the European Rally Championship, with a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo from Toksport, as in the World Rally Championship. Thus, the Norwegian made sure that in 2021 he will contest no less than 15 rallies, among the 7 that he will complete for WRC 2 and the 8 that make up the ERC calendar. Still, despite this busy schedule, Mikkelsen assured that he has only one goal: to dominate both categories and win both titles.
“Racing in these two championships will mean that I will be driving for a long time and I will also do quite a few tests. I think this is the definitive program for me in 2021 as I will be competing against tough opponents all the time. Of course, I will not be behind the wheel of a World Rally Car, which is where I feel I belong, but I think this is a big step towards my goal of returning full-time to the World Rally Car in 2022, ” declared the Norwegian driver in his video blog.
“I have a goal for next year: to dominate every rally I do. That means winning all the ERC and WRC 2 dates. I will be fully focused on being the fastest Rally2 driver in each rally and I have the car to do it. Skoda owns the best Rally2 car and there is no question about that. It is a car that I love and as I spend more time at the wheel I will feel even better than I did in 2020, ” said Mikkelsen in reference to the Fabia Rally2 Evo from Toksport, a team that was WRC 2 champion in 2020 and who helped Chris Ingram to win the 2019 ERC title.
As if that weren’t enough, the Norwegian will also make the best of his bond with Skoda, which stems from his appearances years ago in the ERC with the Fabia S2000 and in the old WRC 2 with a Fabia R5.
This is how Mikkelsen himself revealed that the development test carried out this year to collaborate with the Fabia Rally2 Evo upgrade kit was not the only activity that he will have carried out for the manufacturer. In addition to his programs in WRC 2 and ERC, Mikkelsen will also be a tester for the Czech brand in 2021, as he will collaborate with the Rally2 that is expected to be launched in 2022.
“This means that I will have a great role for next year, as I will be sitting in a rally car almost every week, which I think is incredible. I also think that this test program will keep us very well prepared for all the rallies we face. So I am fully confident that we will be able to win every kind of rally next year and that will put me in a very good position to return to the WRC in 2022, ” explained Mikkelsen.
It should be remembered that last week the launch of the 2021 upgrade kit for the Fabia Rally2 Evo was revealed, which includes multiple performance, reliability and safety improvements, with new engine, suspension and transmission. The testing and development phase for this set had Andreas Mikkelsen himself as one of the testers, along with Kris Meeke, Pontus Tidemand, Jan Kopecky, Oliver Solberg and Emil Lindholm.
Finally, another of the projects in Mikkelsen’s portfolio for 2021 will be to contest selected World Championship rallies with a World Rally Car, a proposal with which he will seek to reinsert himself as an official driver for the 2022 WRC season.
A priori, there would have been the possibility that the Norwegian could race with Sainteloc Racing. It should be remembered that this structure not only supplied the vehicle that Mikkelsen used for the Pirelli 2021 tire tests. In addition, the French team had also revealed to DirtFish that it was seeking to reactivate the already issued homologation documents for the now-archived Citroën C3 WRC 2021, a vehicle that never got to run after the manufacturer’s departure in 2019.
However, another possibility would be that Mikkelsen reaches an agreement with M-Sport to drive a Ford Fiesta WRC, a model that in 2021 will receive the installation of the long-awaited engine and cylinder head update, which should improve its power, torque and driving ability.
It should be remembered that the Malcolm Wilson and Richard Millener team has not yet closed its driver lineup for 2021, as it requires an agreement with paid drivers due to the critical financial situation of the company. For this, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux sound like favorites due to their sponsors, according to DirtFish, Rallye Sport and Rallit.fi. However, Teemu Suninen revealed to the latter that he would not rule out driving a Fiesta WRC for a partial program of selected rallies.
The truth is that reaching an agreement with M-Sport has long been viewed with some uncertainty on the part of Mikkelsen, who during previous interviews with DirtFish and Scratch Magazine did not want to rule out the option of renting a private Hyundai or Toyota. For now, Mikkelsen only said in his video blog that “maybe I will do some World Rally dates with a WRC. But we have to see if we can make it happen. Obviously, it is very likely that I need some sponsors and investors to help me, although I am working on it.
Otherwise, Mikkelsen will not rest in his ambition to return to the WRC and try to become the replacement for Sebastien Ogier by 2022, as he revealed to DirtFish months ago. In addition to this project to drive a part-time WRC, the Norwegian also plans to be present on each date of the World Rally Championship that is not included in this plan or in his WRC 2 program. For these cases, his objective will be to complete the recognitions. With this, the driver will be able to take the most up-to-date information possible from the roads in each WRC event regardless of whether he competes or not.
“For those rallies where I am not competing for the WRC, I will be doing the ‘recce’, so at least I will be able to know and learn the stages. In short, I am super excited and grateful to Skoda and Toksport, who gave me the opportunity to do both championships and at the same time allow me to be part of the development of the 2022 car, ” said Mikkelsen.