Andreas Mikkelesen believes road conditions at Rally Sweden will be a deciding factor for all the drivers as they prepare for the second round of the World Rally Championship.

The Norwegian driver finished second in last year's Swedish rally and is hopeful he can carry his strong form into this season's event, after finishing third in the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo.

At last season's event the top four drivers were all Scandinavian, with many believing the Finnish and Norwegian drivers have a distinct advantage at their 'home' rally.

Related Articles

"The main features of the Rally Sweden are the fast special stages lined by snowbanks on the roadside," Mikkelsen said. "If you find the right snowbanks, which you can lean on, you can gain a lot of time and find yourself up there with the front-runners. If you get it wrong and hit a snowbank that is too soft, your rally can be over just as quickly.

"I associate a lot of positives with the Rally Sweden. Last year I finished on the podium for the first time there."

Mikkelsen feels the snowy and icy conditions affect each driver equally and a big factor could be the starting positions, where the first cars on the road will carve snow off the racing line.

"I start third on the first couple of days, and the first drivers out will have a disadvantage if there is a lot of snow on the route," he added. "As such, I hope the roads are icy, rather than covered in snow. Should that not be the case, I will be aiming for a top-five finish."

The 25-year-old driver competes for Volkswagen Motorsport II and will race in last season's Polo R WRC model.

"At the moment, people keep asking me whether I can win with last year's Polo R WRC. I am convinced that I can and, given the right conditions, the prospect of a maiden win is entirely realistic."

Rally Sweden departs Karlstad on Thursday evening (12 September) and finishes on Sunday (15 September).