Skoda UK Motorsport's Andreas Mikkelsen is hoping to extend his lead in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with another successful run on the San Marino Rally next weekend.

Mikkelsen won the event last year en-route to becoming the Italian Gravel Rally champion. However, with only 10 miles (16kms) of this year's route the same as in 2011, he and co-driver Ola Floene will have to be at their best in their factory-prepared Fabia S2000 to repeat the result.

Whilst virtually all of this year's San Marino Rally's six different stages will be new to Mikkelsen, he has a good feel for the picturesque mountain region and has a knack of being instantly quick on unfamiliar territory. After flying to Bologna airport directly from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, he will have a full day's pre-event test in the hills outside San Marino on Tuesday.

"We head to San Marino leading the IRC and we have this and another really strong gravel rally in Romania coming up, so the aim is to come away from both events with as many championship points as possible," Mikkelsen said.

"I feel very comfortable and confident in the Fabia S2000, and whilst no rally is easy, we have a great opportunity to make the most of what could turn out to be a decisive time in this year's series.

"We won in San Marino last year, and while this year's route is basically all new, I have a good feel for the area and I'm looking forward to returning," concluded the Norwegian.

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