Andreas Mikkelsen believes his podium finish at ADAC Rallye Deutschland will give him the confidence to challenge for further asphalt success before the 2014 season reaches its conclusion.
The Norwegian headed to Germany having never contested an asphalt rally in his VW Polo R WRC and was therefore aiming just to complete some valuable asphalt mileage.
But Mikkelsen fared better than he expected and was rewarded with a third-place finish and the honour of being the only VW Motorsport driver to complete the rally after team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out.
With two more asphalt rounds in France and Spain around the corner, Mikkelsen is hoping his form in Germany will stand him in good stead.
“We knew Germany was going to be tough. I didn’t feel comfortable coming into this event on Tarmac, so I decided to consider this event as a small test, get through it, get the mileage on Tarmac,” he explained.
“The last time I did that was in Spain, where I did 2.5 stages and I went off. I needed the mileage and we did well this weekend, so hopefully this gives me a good feeling for the next Tarmac event.”
The 25-year-old attributed his speed on Germany’s notoriously unpredictable stages to his preparation before the competitive action got underway.
He said: “Luckily, I found a good rhythm on the shakedown and we kept the pace all weekend. There were a lot of tricky conditions and changeable weather but we drove a clever rally and third place is more than I could ever have dreamed of coming into this event.”
Mikkelsen’s result in Germany was VW’s maiden podium on its home event and the result also means that only a VW crew can win the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles this season. Only Latvala and Mikkelsen have a mathematical chance of catching series leader Ogier with four rounds remaining.