Andreas Mikkelsen has confirmed that he will front-load his World Rally Championship campaign with Toksport Škoda this season, contesting the first six rounds of his planned WRC2 title assault.
The Norwegian had always planned to concentrate on scoring as many points as possible in the first half of the 2021 season, in an effort to make sure he would be free for any potential World Rally Championship testing in the season’s second half.
Mikkelsen’s priority for next year is a return to a manufacturer Rally1 seat.
“We will go to Portugal, Sardinia, basically, we do the first six rallies and then we wait,” he told DirtFish.
WRC2 crews can score points on seven rallies this season, with the best six scores counting towards the end-of-year standings.
Safari Rally in Kenya – round six – will be Mikkelsen’s required round outside of Europe.
“Doing the first six means we have some time in the second half of the year for testing and things like that,” continued Mikkelsen. “But for the seventh event, we can see what everybody else is doing and make a plan.”
Mikkelsen leads the WRC2 standings by 35 points from his Toksport team-mate Marco Bulacia. Arguably, it’s round two and three winners – Esapekka Lappi and Mads Østberg – who pose the biggest threat to Mikkelsen’s WRC2 title ambitions. Both have started just one event.
Having won round one and finished second on round two, Mikkelsen missed the chance of a third big score when he retired from day one in Croatia.
“It was tough,” he said. “We spent two days in no-man’s land waiting for the powerstage. I lost the rear of the car over a right-hander over a crest. I saved the car, but then we were on the other side of the road.
“There was something hard in the ditch which broke an arm on the right-rear of the car. I tried to continue, but the rear of the car was living its own life. We had another spin and there was no way to carry on.”
Mikkelsen delivered a five-point powerstage, winning final asphalt test by 8.9 seconds from Teemu Suninen. He has won all three powerstages this season.
Mikkelsen added: “I wasn’t sure we had the perfect tire choice for the final stage. It was my mistake in stage two that ruined this one, but we will come back stronger in Portugal.”