Fresh start for Mikkelsen
Andreas Mikkelsen will make radical changes to his car set-up and driving style in an effort to bounce back from a miserable 2018 season.
Much was expected of the former Volkswagen ace when he joined Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team in late 2017. But he only finished on the podium once last season.
Mikkelsen admitted his performance had led him to rethink his approach, especially on asphalt rallies.
“I think in general on gravel we did an okay job, but on asphalt I struggled a lot,” he told wrc.com. “After a lot of studying I’m coming into this season with a fresh mindset."
The Norwegian believes a simpler approach to the set-up of his i20 will be key to improvement.
“Last year I tried to make it more like what I was used to, but maybe this car you just have to drive as it is - like the other guys have spent five years doing,” he explained. “I will now try to copy a lot, and just drive it like it is.”
The 29-year-old is also looking to alter his driving style and has analysed data and onboard footage of team-mates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo to take inspiration from their techniques.
“It’s a lot about how they approach corners as well as the car set-up they have,” he explained. “I was braking a bit later and trailing more on the brakes going into the corners to get the car to turn in. The way I set up the car was probably better for turning in, but it cost a lot of grip.
“It looks very easy when you see the differences, but I’ve driven with this approach for 10 years and changing it is difficult.”
Despite this, Mikkelsen remains confident that he can turn his fortunes around.
“It’s quite normal in sport that you have good years and challenging years. Last year has been my most challenging, but I know if we keep working hard and put all our efforts and energy into it, it will turn around,” he said.
Suninen out to make his mark
Finnish youngster gets big opportunity with M-Sport Ford
WRC launch: class of 2019
Teams reveal new liveries
In Pictures: 2019 WRC launch
Highlights from the WRC’s Super Saturday