Wednesday | 25 Jan 2017

Mikkelsen chases Polo return

Volkswagen refugee Andreas Mikkelsen is targeting a return to the World Rally Car category later this year aboard a 2017-spec Polo R.

The Norwegian was left without a drive after VW withdrew from the WRC last year, and he tackled the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo in WRC 2 as a one-off guest driver for Skoda.

But Mikkelsen hasn't turned his back on Volkswagen and told Motorsport News that he hoped to be reunited with the 2017-spec car he helped to develop before it was mothballed in December.

Mikkelsen was reported to say in the British newspaper: "I want the Polo, it's the only car I know how to drive - I have done so much testing with it, it's really a pretty special one."

"I have to look for sponsors to do it, we try to do Portugal then Poland - I want to target three events and get back to a factory team for next season. Everybody is working hard, Volkswagen is doing everything it can."

Volkswagen has stated that the Polo R could return to WRC competition, but only in private hands and only if it does not cost the manufacturer any money.

Mikkelsen's management team confirmed to that discussions with Volkswagen were being held, but said that even if a deal to run the car can be struck, it will need to be homologated for competition - a process that remains incomplete following VW's WRC exit.

Homologation can now only be completed with the approval of registered WRC manufacturers Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport and Toyota.

Reflecting on the significance of his class victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Mikkelsen said: "It was a good rally, but in the end I really want to be in a world rally car as soon as possible – but at what point I don't know. Will this make a difference? I don't think so.

"2017 is difficult, the teams have their drivers signed up, but we are working and the aim is to be in the most competitive team in 2018 and fight for the world championship title.

"I will do the recces for all rallies this year and then let's see what budget we can get together to do as many rallies as possible to stay sharp for 2018," he added.


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