Hyundai Motorsport has announced they will bring in Andreas Mikkelsen for the remainder of the 2017 World Rally Championship season, replacing Hayden Paddon for the upcoming Rally Spain, though whom he will replace at the following two events is yet to be confirmed.
Mikkelsen demonstrated strong form at the last round of the championship, delivering a second placed finish for the factory Citroen team, which was only the French marque’s second podium of the year to date.
Paddon meanwhile has struggled greatly for form in comparison to Hyundai team leader Thierry Neuville, with only a single podium to his name while the Belgian scored rally wins in France, Argentina and Poland.
Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan cited Paddon’s lack of points contribution to their consutrctors’ championship effort as the reason for drafting in Mikkelsen so late in the season.
“Reaching this decision was not easy, but we felt it was necessary to reaffirm ourselves in the championship battle,” Nandan said. “Discussions with Andreas have been ongoing since he was out of a drive but we had nothing to offer him, as our line-up was fixed.”
“However, with us losing ground, we decided to re-evaluate the situation. We had an open discussion with all three of our crews, and informed them of our decision to make this adjustment.”
While Neuville is undoubtedly safe given his year-long battle for drivers’ championship honours with M-Sport driver Sebastien Ogier, Nandan hinted that veteran driver Dani Sordo is potentially in line to miss at least one event before the end of the season to make room for Mikkelsen.
“The precise line-up for Spain has been made, but we will confirm our crews for Wales and Australia in due course. For now, though, we welcome Andreas and Anders [Jæger, co-driver] into Hyundai Motorsport and look forward to getting our 2017 championship back on track from Spain onwards.”