Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Mikko Markkula have decided to part company by mutual agreement Volkswagen can confirm today.
Markkula will be replaced by Mikkelsen’s former co-driver Ola Fløene who partnered the Norweigan between 2006-2012 during his IRC days in which they won back-to-back titles.
Mikkelsen explains why he felt it was necessary to make this decision: “Mikko Markkula is a very good co-driver,” he said. “He introduced a lot of good ideas into my pace note system and helped me to develop as a driver. I would like to thank him for his professionalism, his skill and his hard work.”
“However, Mikko and I are very different people – our different personalities meant we were not able to develop a really close personal relationship, which we would have needed to be successful in the long-term.”
Mikkelsen also explained why he felt the need to bring back his old co-driver: “Ola Fløene was my first co-driver – and was always by my side between the ages of 16 and 23. I felt it was the right moment to make a change. Ola and I have continued to develop, and I now have the feeling that the time has come to welcome Ola back on board.”
Markkula, who played an important role in helping Mikkelsen and VW achieve some strong finishes – in Sweden and Argentina in particular, leaves the team with a lot of pride intact.
“I am very proud of what I have achieve in the past two years,” he said. “I raised my level to the highest standard and would not change a thing.”
“I fully respect Andreas’ decision and understand that he would like to try out something different. I wish Andreas all the best for the future.”
Fløene in comparison is relishing the opportunity to be reunited with his friend and old partner Mikkelsen.
“Andreas and I worked together for seven years and I am very proud to be reunited with him and the Volkswagen Motorsport team.”
“I have to say that parting from Andreas was hard, but necessary. We had been together for a long time and, just like an old couple, there were a few things that were annoying each of us.”
“However, I think we really missed each other and our relationship is now stronger than ever – I dare say Andreas and I were just meant to be together in a rally car.”