Andreas Mikkelsen has revealed that he is 'very close' to inking a deal to compete for Volkswagen in the 2013 World Rally
VW has already confirmed Sebastien Ogier
and Jari-Matti Latvala
as its two lead drivers for next season but is also expected to run a third Polo WRC for at least selected events.
Mikkelsen has competed in a number of WRC events this season for Volkswagen as it has run S2000-spec Skoda Fabias in the series in preparation for its 2013 assault, while the Norwegian also secured the Intercontinental Rally Challenge crown for a second straight season with Skoda.
With his time in the IRC now at an end after the curtain came down on the series following the season finale in Cyprus, Mikkelsen could be set to head back to the WRC with the factory VW team after revealing that he was close to putting pen to paper on a deal.
“The plan is to do the world championship with Volkswagen and to drive the Polo World Rally
Car,” he said. “The deal is not signed but it's very, very close.”
Any deal with Volkswagen would given Mikkelsen the chance to compete for a manufacturer team at the highest level of the WRC for the first time and he admitted that the time spent with Skoda's IRC outfit would be beneficial to his future career.
“Doing the IRC has been a big, big opportunity for me but the biggest thing I've learned was how to work with a big manufacturer,” he said. “Before I was always a privateer, thinking about myself and the result I wanted. With Skoda UK I have the whole brand behind me and I have to look at the bigger picture. My two years with Skoda UK will be very valuable for my career.
“It started very badly in Monte-Carlo last year when we finished after a few corners and we've had many ups and downs since then. It was a big move for Skoda UK to give me this chance and there were a lot of critics because they were hiring a Norwegian and not helping one of their own. It was a bad start but we never gave up and they never stopped believing in my talents and what I was capable of doing with Ola [Fløene, my co-driver]. By winning two titles I hope we've paid them back.”