Andreas Mikkelsen has lauded his third place finish on Rallye Monte Carlo as a "dream start" to the 2015 WRC season.

Mikkelsen had said "anything better than seventh place would be a success for him" prior to the event, but the Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot did better than that, with a mature drive rewarding him with the final spot on the podium, behind team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier.

"I'm delighted that my own season has started so well. Third place exceeds all my expectations. We will celebrate this podium result properly, that much is certain," Mikkelsen reflected.

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"The conditions at this 'Monte' were extremely difficult and it was the first time that I have started here when there has been snow, ice and slippery asphalt. Right from the start my focus was on finishing safely - and it paid off. I learned so much and ended up with a lot. Quite simply, it was a dream start."

Speaking in the post-event press conference, he underlined how he felt he had driven a "clever rally" in his Polo R WRC.

"I think, looking at the performance, we drove a pretty clever rally," he confirmed. "I knew it would be difficult for me and Ola [Floene - my co-driver] to challenge from the experience we have - and the conditions.

"We were clever, and tried to let the result do something for us. With some good tyre choices, we hoped it would come to us. We were looking for fifth or sixth and would have been happy with that.

"This has been a great rally and we have learned a huge amount. This was the first time I drove these tyres, they were completely new for me. I have tried to do a clever rally and got paid by third place."

Floene added: "I had one target [this weekend] and that was to make Andreas happy and to work with the ice and gravel crew.

"We used our head on this event."