Andreas Mikkelsen will have a new co-driver at next month’s Rally Italia Sardegna after the VW driver decided to replace Mikko Markkula with Ola Floene.
Floene was Mikkelsen’s very first co-driver when the Norwegian started his rallying career in 2006 and the duo enjoyed great success – winning back-to-back European Rally Championship titles in 2011 and 2012 – until they decided to go their separate ways at the end of the 2012 season.
Mikkelsen then teamed up with Markkula in 2013 when he kicked off his maiden WRC season in VW’s Polo R WRC. Despite guiding his driver to third place in this year’s standings and a second-placed finish at Rally Sweden, Markkula’s role with Mikkelsen has been brought to an “amicable" conclusion.
Mikkelsen cited 'personal differences' for his decision to re-appoint Floene to the co-driver’s seat. He said: “Mikko Markkula is a very good co-driver. He introduced a lot of good ideas into my pace note system and helped me to develop as a driver. I would like to thank him for his professionalism, his skill, and his hard work.
“However, Mikko and I are very different people – and our different personalities meant we were not able to develop a really close personal relationship, which we would have needed to be successful in the long-term. Ola Floene was my first co-driver and I now have the feeling that the time has come to welcome him back on board.”
Markkula said he was proud of what he had achieved at Mikkelsen’s side and respected his former driver’s decision to change direction.
“I wish Andreas all the best for the future. I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to the entire team at Volkswagen Motorsport and its fantastic employees. I enjoyed every moment with the team,” he said.