Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen says he will target victory at next month's Rally Sweden [11-14 February] after second place at Rallye Monte-Carlo left him brimming with confidence.
Mikkelsen has made no secret of his drivers' title ambitions this year and he left Monte-Carlo as closest rival to his championship leading team-mate, Sébastien Ogier, despite the unsettling potential of a late co-driver switch.
The rally was the Norwegian's first alongside new co-driver Anders Jaeger, and while he admitted to some pre-rally reservations about how the partnership would develop, he ended up delighted.
"Coming into the event, I knew it would be difficult. With a new co-driver, you have to get used to each other and doing this one - a tricky rally - especially for the co-driver, it’s tough. We definitely did not pick the easiest one to start with, but it’s gone really perfectly," he said.
"Anders has done an incredible job; the amount of detail he gets in [the pace notes] is amazing. For co-drivers it’s about how they say it and the timing as well. I take my hat off. This is the best start we could have had."
Mikkelsen is so confident in the new partnership that he's targeting an outright win on the forthcoming winter round in Sweden - which also includes stages in his homeland.
"We were really close last year and the year before I took my first podium. I really feel we have the necessary experience to fight at the front. We should be able to fight for the win," he said.