Andreas Mikkelsen took victory in the Rallye Monte Carlo, the opening round of the 2017 World Rally Championship, his first outing with the Škoda Fabia R5 in the WRC2 class.
The Norwegian and co-driver Anders Jaeger finished seventh overall, but was comfortably the victor in WRC2, leading home team-mate Jan Kopecký by three minutes and twenty-five seconds.
Mikkelsen thanked the team for allowing him to drive in the event after losing his works Volkswagen drive at the end of 2016 when the team left the championship.
“Škoda opened the door to the big rally world for me and it is a special feeling for me to return with this triumph,” said Mikkelsen. “Thanks to the whole team.
“I am happy to give Škoda this success at the legendary ‘Monte’. The Škoda Fabia R5 is a good rally car and I am satisfied with our performance.”
Michal Hrabánek, the Škoda Motorsport Director was full of praise for the whole team after Mikkelsen and Kopecký brought the team a 1-2 finish in Monte Carlo, and believes it is one of the best performances for Škoda in their history.
“This one-two victory at the Rally Monte Carlo is one of the high points in our 116 years of motorsport history,” said Hrabánek. “The ‘Monte’ is the most famous rally in the world and it is really special to win here.
“Respect to Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger, who showed their class and outstanding speed under the most difficult of conditions. The whole team did an outstanding job, from the mechanics and engineers to our two works duos with Jan Kopecký and Pavel Dresler, as well as Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson. Of course, this is the best possible start to the new rally year 2017.”