Following an extraordinarily successful year in 2016, Skoda Motorsport has landed a surprise coup ahead of the new rally season. Experienced WRC driver Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Anders Jæger will make a guest appearance for the works team. Mikkelsen will be at the wheel of the Skoda Fabia R5 at the iconic Rally Monte Carlo. The opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship also marks the start of the new season with the works team.
“With the world championship title, three continental and ten national titles, 2016 was one of the most successful years in the history of Skoda Motorsport. We want to back up this success in 2017, and kick off the new rally year at the famous ‘Monte’. The Skoda Motorsport works team will contest selected rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) and will also race in the Czech Rally Championship,” said Michal Hrabánek.
The Skoda Motorsport Director will once again put his faith in works drivers Pontus Tidemand and Jan Kopecký in 2017. However, he is also looking forward to the guest appearance of Andreas Mikkelsen: “We are obviously proud to see him in the Skoda Fabia R5. In a way, Andreas Mikkelsen is returning to his roots.”
The 27-year-old Norwegian began his rise to the top with titles in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2011 and 2012. Back then, he was victorious in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000. In 2011, he made his first appearance for the Volkswagen Motorsport team. That was at the Rally Finland, again in the successful Skoda Fabia Super. He then went on to finish third overall in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Andreas won three races in the top tier of rallying. On 20 November 2016, Mikkelsen/Jæger were victorious at the Rally Australia, the final race for four-time world champions Volkswagen in the WRC.
“It feels like I am coming home,” said Andreas Mikkelsen
“Skoda gave me an opportunity right at the start of my career. I have so many fond memories of the Skoda Fabia and am really looking forward to getting back in that car. I hope I can get a good result for Skoda, although the ‘Monte’ is a very difficult rally.”
Works drivers Tidemand and Kopecký will certainly be among the experienced WRC driver’s toughest rivals. They have a lot of experience and victories under their belts with the Skoda Fabia R5. Tidemand won the WRC 2 class in Portugal in 2016, while Kopecký triumphed in Spain.