Hyundai doesn’t owe me a drive – Mikkelsen

The three-time WRC event winner was set to compete for Hyundai this year - and could be in contention for a return


Andreas Mikkelsen would be well within his rights to still be smarting over the events of last year’s World Rally Championship silly season.

Led to believe he would be a Hyundai driver for 2023, Mikkelsen told Toksport and Škoda he was off for the new season. The announcement, he thought, was imminent.

But, snubbed at the 11th hour as Hyundai moved to poach Esapekka Lappi from Toyota, Mikkelsen didn’t just lose one drive, but two, as Toksport filled spaces to drive Škoda’s all-new Fabia RS Rally2 this season.

It took until round five in Portugal for Mikkelsen to secure himself a run in WRC2.

Andreas Mikkelsen

However, Hyundai’s unfortunate need for a new driver following the passing of Craig Breen reopens the door.

Naturally, Mikkelsen’s interested.

“I think most of the drivers have said that they’re interested,” Mikkelsen told DirtFish.

“Of course I’m one of them, but so far there’s no news regarding that. But I’m sure they have time, they want to see what is the best option for the future.”

Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul has suggested that Hyundai will look to build for the future with whomever it welcomes into the team, but Mikkelsen is still only 33 so has plenty of years ahead of him in a rally car.

It could be argued that Hyundai in fact owes Mikkelsen the drive given what happened half a year ago. But the three-time World Rally winner doesn’t see things like that at all.

“Well, I would not call it ‘owe it’, but yeah, I was guaranteed something last year,” Mikkelsen said.


“In the end it didn’t happen. Of course that was with the other management so new guys now and yeah, I don’t think they owe me anything.

“I just need to drive as good as I can and if that is a possibility for me to drive that car of course I would love to, but I’m sure a lot of drivers would!”

Asked what his relationship is like with Hyundai now, Mikkelsen reiterated that any issues he may have had are irrelevant as there is a new team principal and team manager this year.

“Yes, but that was with the old management. So new management now, and let’s see,” he said.

“I was very close last year and in the end it didn’t happen, but we just try to do what we can to be back in WRC, that’s definitely the aim.”

With Dani Sordo having previously reiterated that he will remain on a part-time program in 2023, Hyundai will need to bring a driver into the fold at some point this year.

But with Sordo competing in Sardinia, and having confirmed his participation on Safari Rally Kenya, the new driver would not start competing until Rally Estonia at the earliest.

So while Hyundai needs to make a decision, with Sordo’s help, it has at least bought itself a little more time, and Mikkelsen will be hoping that can only work further in his favor.

Words:Luke Barry