ŠKODA UK Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen’s 2012 rally season has begun in fine style after he scored victory on the opening round of the Norwegian Rally Championship, the snowy Mountain Rally in Norway.
Co-driven by Ola Fløene, the reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge Champion won the Gol-based event in his IRC title-winning ŠKODA Fabia S2000, which is now owned by his manager, Erik Veiby, and was run under the team Evenrally banner. Andreas finished 7.2 seconds ahead of WRC regular driver Mads Østberg, who was driving a more power Regional Rally Car.
Østberg took the lead on the short opening stage, but Andreas – who was doing the event as a pre-season test – fought back to claim victory after all six stages had been completed.
Andreas: “It’s very nice to start the new season off with a rally win, and I am very pleased. It’s a long time since I've driven on snow and ice and having been away for two years it was great to rally in Norway again. We had to drive fast to beat Mads and even though we were here to test, competing against such a good driver meant we really had to focus on our driving – so it was a very good test situation for us.”
Andreas and Ola will next contest Rally Finnskog (4 February) as a final test in preparation for Rally Sweden (9–12 February). The ŠKODA UK Motorsport star will be on loan to VW Motorsport and will compete in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000 alongside Sébastien Ogier.
Andreas’ main focus for 2012 is the defense of his IRC Drivers’ title with ŠKODA UK Motorsport, which begins on the Sata Rallye Azores (23-25 February).
Mountain Rally results (top 10)
1. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (ŠKODA Fabia S2000)….44mins 11.5secs2. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (Ford Fiesta RRC)….+7.2secs3. Sveinung Bieltvedt/Roger Eilertsen (Subaru Impreza)….+2mins 38.8secs4. Anders Grøndal/Trond Svendsen (Subaru Impreza WRC)….+2mins 52.4secs5. Bernt Kollevold/Ove Johnny Andersen (Mitsubishi Lancer)….+3mins 31.2secs6. Peder Økseter/Stig Rune Skjærmoen (Subaru Impreza)….+3mins 37.3secs7. Trond Sveinsvoll/Otto Øvestad (Subaru Impreza)….+4mins 24.4secs8. Geir Helge Frøslid/Ragnar Engen (Subaru Impreza)….+5mins 42.7secs9. Petter Rolfsen/Anders Kjær (Ford Fiesta R2)….+6mins 20.8secs10. Petter Kristiansen/Ole Kr. Brennunm (ŠKODA Fabia R2)….+6mins 37.6secs