Andreas Mikkelsen has revealed he turned down a Citroën Racing drive at the height of the French squad’s power in favour of staying in a Škoda Fabia S2000 on the promise of an untried Volkswagen Polo R WRC.
The Norwegian was approached by Citroën ahead of the 2012 season, following Sébastien Ogier’s departure.
At the time, Mikkelsen was the defending IRC champion with Škoda and had the offer of a deal with Volkswagen Motorsport.
Citroën hadn’t been beaten to the manufacturers’ title in four years when Mikkelsen was offered a seat alongside Sébastien Loeb, then-undefeated since 2003.
“After winning the IRC we had to make quite a tough choice,” Mikkelsen said.
“Citroën came on board and they wanted me to join them in the WRC being the team-mate of Sébastien Loeb, which of course would be a big dream come true.
“At the same time Volkswagen was coming into the WRC in 2013, so that meant I had a choice: either join the WRC now or take one more year in the IRC and then join Volkswagen, the biggest car manufacturer in the world.
“Long-term planning, we chose to stay with Škoda for one more year in the IRC, which we won, and then joined Volkswagen when they went to the WRC. Looking back I’m very happy we did that choice, joining Volkswagen was an incredible time of my life.”
Mikkelsen scored all three of his WRC wins in a Polo R WRC – including a towering victory over Ogier at the squad’s farewell to the sport in Australia, 2016.
He has no regrets over his decision ahead of the 2012 season and talks warmly about his time alongside fellow Polo drivers Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala.
“Being a part of that team was an amazing period,” he said.
“They [Volkswagen] were doing everything so professionally and some of my greatest years were there.
“I’m not sure we’ll ever see a team like that in the WRC again; they did everything by the book they had so big budgets and put a new standard to everything.”
During Mikkelsen’s four seasons with Volkswagen Motorsport, the German manufacturer won all four makes’ titles and Ogier did the same in the drivers’ championship.
Mikkelsen is now driving Pirelli’s test and development Citroën C3 WRC ahead of the Italian firm’s arrival as the WRC’s sole tyre supplier next season.
Having been turned down by Mikkelsen, Citroën went on to sign Mikko Hirvonen for the 2012 and ’13 seasons, who bagged one win in Italy during his first year and 15 podiums across both seasons.