Andreas Mikkelsen will return to the World Rally Championship at next week’s Rally Italy following a negative coronavirus test earlier this week.
The three-time WRC event winner was ruled out of last week’s Rally Portugal after testing positive in the run-up to the Matosinhos-based event.
Mikkelsen will begin training again on Wednesday, but he has assured DirtFish he will be back to his best aboard his Toksport-run Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo in Olbia.
When I was talking to my doctors in Norway, I was a little bit afraid. They were telling me that I might still take a positive test as much as three months after having coronavirusAndreas Mikkelsen
“I didn’t do any training yet,” said Mikkelsen, “because I wanted to give my body the best chance to fight this disease.
“To be honest, I think I was quite lucky. One night I had the feeling of a little bit of fever: hot then cold then hot again and a headache and sore throat for a couple of days, but otherwise I was fine.
“Now I just want to get back to the action again. It was so hard to sit out Portugal, but I look forward and I’m really excited to get back to my championship challenge again.”
Mikkelsen returns to the WRC2 title fight at the top of the table and will test the Fabia in Sardinia on Monday.
“It will be really nice to be back,” he added. “When I was talking to my doctors in Norway, I was a little bit afraid. They were telling me that I might still take a positive test as much as three months after having coronavirus – even though the virus is dead in your body, sometimes it can still be picked up. The FIA rules are clear that if you have a positive test, you stay home.
“But, OK, it’s all good now. I can look forwards.”
Mikkelsen admitted he sympathized with countryman Ole Christian Veiby, who tested positive after close contact with Mikkelsen and has received a subsequent six-month ban for not following protocol.
“It’s difficult,” said Mikkelsen. “We have to follow the rules, but when you test negative, negative, negative, it’s very difficult to call your team and stand down from competing on a round of the World Rally Championship. It’s tough, but, of course, we understand we have to be careful with this thing – it spreads so quickly.”