Andreas Mikkelsen will debut the new Ford Fiesta S2000 in the World Rally Championship, it has been announced.
Mikkelsen will compete in Sweden next month, what will be the cars second competitive outing, as BP Ford Abu Dhabi #1 driver Mikko Hirvonen will drive it on the Monte Carlo Rally next week, the opening round in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
"We see this as a vote of confidence," said Mikkelsen, "and it will be exciting to drive such a highly-anticipated car that has been built with the future in mind and fits perfectly into our long-term plans."
Mikkelsen has driven in Sweden just once before, in 2008, when he ended up in fifth place overall in a Ford Focus WRC and became the youngest driver ever to take World Championship points.
"Ford choosing Andreas as the driver in Sweden shows the position he has gained internationally," said his manager, Erik Veiby. "This will be an exciting season internationally for Andreas and [his co-driver] Ola [Floene].
"All the details are not finalised yet, but we are close to a decision with regard to the IRC series and we are also working on joining the new S-WRC category."
In addition to extensive international competitions, Mikkelsen will also compete in selected National Rally Championship rounds this year in a Subaru Impreza cup car. He got off to a flying start recently too by winning the Group N class on the Rally Sigdal.
Mikkelsen's next event will be the Mountain Rally in Gol in a week's time. After that his focus will shift to Sweden and a pre-event test with the all-new Ford Fiesta Super 2000 car.