Volkswagen third driver Andreas Mikkelsen was happy with his form on Rally Argentina last weekend and after snatching eighth place said he already feels 'really at home' with the Polo R WRC.
Mikkelsen had his first competitive outing in the Polo in Portugal last month, where he took an encouraging sixth place. The two-time Intercontinental Rally Challenge title winner then looked set to match that on the fifth round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, but after being given the okay to go for it on Friday afternoon he went out in SS8 with suspension damage.
However, after rejoining on Saturday – the final day – he fought back and got the better of both Martin Prokop and Citroen's Dani Sordo, edging out the latter by just 0.2 seconds in the final stage.
“Today was quite a finale and we had several more thrilling duels. We really enjoyed the day and the whole rally,” Mikkelsen reflected.
“Everything is moving in the right direction – our new system for the pace notes, our changes to the set-up and the results of the special stages. We're learning more with every metre we cover, and I feel really at home in the Polo R WRC. We've still got lots of ideas about what we can do in future rallies to improve further [too].
“On Friday afternoon, we deliberately set out to complete SS8 in a good time. We didn't expect to record exactly the same time as my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala though. Unfortunately, we asked too much of the car in the process.
“It is my job to combine speed with reliability in the coming rallies [now]. I'm already looking forward to tackling that challenge.”
Sordo meanwhile saw his hopes of a good result disappear in SS4 on Thursday, when his co-driver, Carlos del Barrio called the wrong pacenote after he got distracted [see separate story
]. The roll cost the Spaniard dear, and while he still scored points with ninth, he later confirmed that a gearbox problem hampered him in the final test, allowing Mikkelsen to re-take P8.
“I wasn't paying too much attention to the times, because I was mainly focussed on getting the car to the finish,” the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT driver explained.
“It [competing here] gave me the chance to keep trying to improve my driving [though], especially in the slow corners,” he added.