Markkula, who co-drove fellow Finn Juho Hanninen to the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship crown last season, had been due to contest this week’s mixed-surface season finale alongside Mikkelsen as a precursor to a long-term partnership with the Norwegian youngster when both will work with English pace notes for the first time.
However, Markkula was unable to complete his journey to Spain due to sickness, prompting Mikkelsen’s Volkswagen Motorsport team to call on Floene to continue in the role he’s held since Mikkelsen began competing in 2006.
Mikkelsen, meanwhile, starts in Spain, where he will pilot a Volkswagen-run Skoda Fabia Super 2000, on a high after he became the first driver to win the Intercontinental Rally Challenge title for two years in succession following his second-place finish on the Cyprus Rally last weekend.
“It’s a great feeling to be travelling to Spain as IRC champion,” said the Norwegian. “I last drove in Spain in 2008, but that was only on [asphalt] back then. Our main goal is to find a good rhythm. But of course I want to stay on Sebastien Ogier’s heels like at the last rallies.”