Andreas Mikkelsen believes he is ready for the WRC ahead of his debut with the Volkswagen Motorsport II team on this weekend's Rally of Portugal.
Despite it being his first rally with the Polo R WRC, the young Norwegian feels he is ready to 'step up' to the challenges of the WRC after having spent two years in the International Rally Championship with a Skoda Fabia
“After two successful years in the IRC, I feel ready to take the step up into the World Rally Championship,” he said.
“It will be my first rally with the Polo R WRC, although I did have a number of outings with Volkswagen last year [in an S2000 Skoda] and have already been completely integrated in the team.
“As such, the only thing that is really new to me is the element of competing in a current World Rally Car.”
Despite having assimilated himself well with VW last year, the Norwegian conceded that the Portuguese stages will not give him the easiest debut and is just seeking a mistake free event despite having driven the recce last year and having competed back in 2007.
“In my opinion, the Rally Portugal is one of the most difficult on the race calendar [as] there are a lot of 'blind' passages and relatively little grip,” he said.
“The last time I drove there was back in 2007, so it will practically be a new event for me. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in the Recce last year. As such, I have some idea of what to expect.
"Despite this, it will certainly be one of the most difficult rallies of the year for me. It will be important not to make any mistakes and to avoid any incidents.”
The Volkswagen Motorsport II team was created following Mikkelsen's success in the IRC and will see him and co-driver Mikko Markkula contest the ten remaining rounds on the WRC calendar.
By George East