Thursday | 02 Dec 2021

Mikkelsen commits to WRC2 as top-tier hopes disintegrate

Three-time world rally winner Andreas Mikkelsen will defend his WRC2 title next season after his hopes of a top-tier return have faded away.

Mikkelsen had been eyeing a return to the WRC’s premier class in 2022, however, a lack of available seats aboard new Hybrid Rally1 cars has forced him to turn to a back-up plan.

Instead, the 32-year-old will remain with Toksport ŠKODA, at least for the beginning of the new season. As was the case this year, he will be chasing any opportunity to get back to the WRC’s premier class. 

“The plan is to start [next season] with Toksport and do WRC2 in 2022,” said Mikkelsen. “But that’s like the base plan we have at the moment. 

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“Like I think you know, I want to be back to the top of the championship and I want to be in a Rally1 car next season. Right now there are no seats available, but all I can do is be the first in line if a seat does become available.”

At the top of the 2021 season, Mikkelsen set out his stall saying he wanted to win both WRC2 and European Rally Championship titles as a launchpad back to the top. He’s completed his side of the deal.

“I set the goals high for this season,” he said, “and we won both championships. We had a car that was reliable and competitive. At the end of the year I’m happy – as well as the competition, I’ve continued to do some testing with Pirelli. I will keep working for next year.”

The Norwegian previously won three rallies with Volkswagen

Next year’s WRC2 championship is shaping up to be another competitive campaign with factory-specification cars coming from multiple teams.

Nikolay Gryazin set the WRC2 pace at the final round in Monza and has also touted his interest in returning to the series. Questioned on his 2022 plans, the 24-year-old replied: “For the moment I think it will be a Rally2 car, but we are still making our choice. As soon as possible we will announce it.”

WRC3 champion Yohan Rossel is understood to be working towards a full programme with Citroën, whilst British driver Chris Ingram is also planning to graduate to the WRC’s premier support category.

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