Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen says Rallye Deutschland was a “little bit boring” for him as he had nobody to really fight with, but he was still pleased with third.
Mikkelsen ran in the final podium position throughout the three days and after Kris Meeke made a mistake in SS6 on Friday afternoon was never really under any threat, although he did ease off a bit too much on Sunday morning.
In the end, however, he took his sixth rostrum of the season by more than 10 seconds, a result that moves him back up to third in the Drivers' Championship, eight points up on Citroen's Mads Ostberg in fourth and 16 points shy of team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in second.
“I am very, very happy,” replied the Norwegian when asked if was pleased with his weekend. “If you compare my performance from this year to last year, it is quite a huge improvement.
"I was on the podium last year, but with a lot of luck and with others' misfortune. I think the performance this year really has been good.
“Obviously, we were trying to run at a good pace at the beginning of the rally. When Kris [Meeke] went off, I found myself in third position with quite a gap to the guys behind me, and Seb [Ogier] and Jari were pushing each other very hard. So, basically, I made sure that I tried to defend third place as well as I could without taking any risks, because trying to catch the time that they had already gained from me would mean a lot of risk.
“After that, in one way, it has been a rally that was not so interesting for me, because, basically, I was fighting myself, until this morning, where on the first stage Dani [Sordo] pulled two seconds. Then, on the next stage, I relaxed too much and he gained 11 seconds, so he was only 13 seconds behind, so I decided at the service that I was going to push a bit to gain some time back, which I managed.
“Then, it was pretty much settled, so I made it through the Power Stage to secure a 1-2-3. It's been a great weekend, a little bit boring to have nobody to really fight with, but I am sure that will change in Australia.”
Pressed on if he had any moments, Mikkelsen added: “We have been driving very safely all weekend, never been on the limit, so in that way it has been a very successful rally, but I want to be up there fighting with the main guys.
“For me though, on this rally, I would have needed to take a lot of risk to catch what I had already lost when fighting with Meeke, so then I thought it was probably better to secure a 1-2-3 instead of risking everything and probably make a mistake.”
Meanwhile, looking to the next event in Australia, Mikkelsen is convinced he can have a good shot at taking his maiden WRC win there: “Yes, I do believe that we are contenders there for the win,” he confirmed.
“You have seen our performance in 2013 and 2014. It just got better and better and last year we were really competitive, so I do believe that we have the chance in Australia to fight for victory if we have a good rally,” he concluded.