Volkswagen junior driver Andreas Mikkelsen was 'extremely disappointed' to retire from Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend.
Mikkelsen finished the opening leg in sixth and on the final day moved up to fifth in the morning when Mikko Hirvonen
The Norwegian was then given the OK to push on the repeat loop to try and overhaul Citroen's Dani Sordo in P4, however, unfortunately he went off in SS14, three stages from home.
It was a bitter blow for the youngster on his Birthday weekend – he turned 25 on the Saturday – and it also ended his run of three successive points finishes' with the Polo R WRC.
“I'm extremely disappointed,” Mikkelsen said following the seventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship, “because we got off to a very good start and I think we put in a good performance. That is, until our slip-up today.
“We wanted to go in for the kill and clinch fourth place. In the afternoon session, I had already made good eight seconds on Dani Sordo in the first of the four remaining stages. I only needed around twelve more seconds to pass him, so we went for broke in the following stage too.
“But then I braked too late on a slow corner and we slid and hit a tree stump, which tore off our tie rod. So that was the end of that. I had hoped for a slightly different outcome on my birthday. But I think we were again able to gain a lot of important experience during this rally,” he added.
Volkswagen boss Jost Capito meanwhile was philosophical about Mikkelsen's retirement and believes it is all part of the learning curve.
“Even though he had to retire just before the end of the rally, he was endeavouring to turn our instructions into deeds by going all out to take fourth place, and had a bit of bad luck in the process. But that certainly doesn't remotely detract from his achievements as far as the team is concerned,” Capito stated.
“The only way to improve our position in the Manufacturers' Championship was that Andreas gets ahead of Dani and his performance was good enough to do that today.
"So we said you can try it and you can push to the limit as we have nothing to lose; either we achieve it or not and in the experience with the Polo, if he goes over the limit [as he did], this experience will [at least] make him stronger in the future.”