Andreas Mikkelsen has set his sights on securing a seat with M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in 2022 as he continues his push to return to the top level of the sport.
The Norwegian is currently taking part in WRC2 in 2021 with a Toksport prepared Skoda Fabia R5 and currently holds a twenty-four-point championship lead after a strong start to the season with a win in Monte Carlo and a second place on Arctic Rally Finland. He had previously stated that he wants to dominate WRC2 this year as he looks to return to the FIA World Rally Championship in the strongest way possible.
He has previously been impressed by M-Sport’s ability to interpret new regulation changes back in 2017 and believes with the upcoming change from World Rally Cars to hybrid-powered Rally1 cars next year, that the Cumbrian squad is the best place to be.
Speaking to WRC.com he said, “M-Sport would be a really good place to be in 2022. If you look back, remember to 2017? It seems M-Sport is always really strong straight away and then maybe the other manufacturers with the bigger budgets are catching up a little bit afterwards.
“I want to be back in the top class and, like I said, M-Sport is a very good place to be.”
Having driven for VW Motorsport piloting their Polo R WRC until they left the sport in 2016, Mikkelsen is in a unique position where he has driven a range of cars in the championship. Having initially driven the Hyundai i20 after VW’s departure, the occasional outing in a Citroen C3 was maintained in 2020 as the car was also used by Pirelli to develop the new 2021 WRC tyre, a development programme that Mikkelsen was a key part of. Being behind the wheel of the Fabia this year means Mikkelsen has now had seat time in four different models and believes he has good experience of developing cars.
“I have a lot of experience with developing cars. I have done a lot of work with Škoda, Citroën, Hyundai and, of course Volkswagen. I was working with the Polo from 2012 and doing a lot of the development driving in that car. One of the things I have learned from developing cars is that you need the car to work in a window that’s as wide as possible.
“You need a fairly neutral car and this is what we had with the Polo and that’s why it worked as well as it did. If you have a car which is only working at its best in a certain set of conditions, then it’s going to be tough.”
Mikkelsen returns to WRC2 action on this month’s Croatia Rally on 22 – 25 April where he will be looking to extend his championship lead.