The Volkswagen Motorsport team contested its first World Rally Championship event last weekend at Rally Finland, ahead of its programme in the series with the Polo R WRC from 2013.
The team entered two Skoda Fabia S2000s from the VW group's Czech brand, with Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen and Finland's Joonas Lindroos behind the wheel. The pair were the first drivers to be given the opportunity to impress the team ahead of the driver selection for 2013.
Both Mikkelsen and Lindroos would fail to make the finish of the event though, with Lindroos rolling on the eighth stage and radiator damage caused by a stone putting Mikkelsen after the 17th stage.
“Despite the two retirements the rally was a successful start for the entire team,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “The service crews did an excellent job during their first event and the procedures functioned very well, so my thanks to the whole team. The driver pairings also did a great job. Andreas Mikkelsen and his co-driver Ola Floene were particularly impressive and showed flashes of brilliance.
“In general, we collected valuable experience during this first rally weekend and learnt a great deal. We now look forward to competing in the ADAC Rally Germany in the middle of August.”
Mikkelsen was 15th overall and third in Super 2000 before his retirement.
“I tried to fulfil the team goals: to get to the finish quickly but without accidents,” said the 22-year old. “On the whole I really enjoyed the weekend with Volkswagen Motorsport. The atmosphere in the team is fantastic and I hope that it wasn't my last rally for them.”
Volkswagen Motorsport will compete in further selected rallies in 2011 with the Skoda, with German WRC Academy regular Christian Riedemann and Dutch former junior WRC runner-up Hans Weijs Jr getting the chance to shine on Rallye Deutschland with the team.