Friday | 09 Apr 2021

Mikkelsen eyes top-flight comeback at M-Sport Ford

WRC2 leader Andreas Mikkelsen has targeted a top-level seat at M-Sport Ford next season.

The Norwegian says the British team’s record in dealing with regulation changes makes it the place to be when a hybrid-powered Rally1 formula replaces World Rally Cars as the headline category in 2022.

“M-Sport would be a really good place to be in 2022,” said Mikkelsen.

“If you look back, remember to 2017? It seems M-Sport is always really strong straight away and then maybe the other manufacturers with the bigger budgets are catching up a little bit afterwards. I want to be back in the top class and, like I said, M-Sport is a very good place to be.”

The British squad was fastest out of the blocks when the final incarnation of World Rally Car regulations were introduced in 2017. Sébastien Ogier scored a dominant victory in a Fiesta at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Mikkelsen added that he felt he has plenty to offer in terms of ongoing development with M-Sport Ford’s new-for-’22 car.

“I have a lot of experience with developing cars,” said Mikkelsen. “I have done a lot of work with Škoda, Citroën, Hyundai and, of course Volkswagen. I was working with the Polo [R WRC] from 2012 and doing a lot of the development driving in that car.

“One of the things I have learned from developing cars is that you need the car to work in a window that’s as wide as possible. You need a fairly neutral car and this is what we had with the Polo and that’s why it worked as well as it did.

Video: Arctic Rally Finland WRC2 highlights

“If you have a car which is only working at its best in a certain set of conditions, then it’s going to be tough,” he added.

Mikkelsen is driving for Toksport in WRC2 this season and, while his focus remains on delivering the WRC2 title to the German-based Škoda outfit, he’s more than ready to step back to a World Rally Car should a manufacturer come knocking.

He dominated WRC2 at the season opener in Rallye Monte-Carlo, then finished second to Esapekka Lappi’s Volkswagen Polo R5 second time out at Arctic Rally Finland. He carries a 24-point lead into round three at the Croatia Rally (22 - 25 April).

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