Andreas Mikkelsen has announced Anders Jaeger as his new co-driver for the 2016 World Rally Championship after Ola Floene ditched the Norwegian in favour of Mads Ostberg at M-Sport.
Jaeger will step up from the Junior WRC where he finished runner-up with Ole-Christian Veiby and claimed victory in the season finale Wales Rally GB. The 26-year-old co-driver is highly rated by Mikkelsen and he has revealed he planned to make Jaeger his co-driver in 2017 with one year remaining on Floene's recently-terminated contract.
“He is very talented, so I'm pleased with this solution,” Mikkelsen said. “The co-driver change was planned to take place after the 2016 season and the idea was for Anders to replace Ola for 2017.
“However, now that Ola have chosen different, we had to change those plans. Anders has already been my co-driver on a couple of tests and he is very good in the car. He is a talented guy and I'm confident that this is the best solution. I'm very much looking forward to get properly started with Anders.”
Despite the shock of the arrangement coming a year ahead of schedule, Jaeger is delighted with the news and is looking forward to competing with reigning WRC champions Volkswagen.
“I'm really looking forward to start this journey with him, even though it's a year earlier than planned,” Jaeger said. “I feel both proud and humble to get the opportunity to work with such a professional team as Volkswagen Motorsport.
“I'm sure that Andreas and I will have a great development together and make each other better. Andreas is extremely competitive, he is hungry for more and has his eyes on the future. The same goes for me.”
Mikkelsen has also paid tribute to his former co-driver, after the pair claimed a maiden WRC victory at Rally de Espana in October, and says he fully accepts Floene's decision and there are no hard feelings between the pair.
“After many great years with Ola in my car, I was looking forward to another successful year with him next to me,” Mikkelsen said. “There are so many good memories with Ola, together we have come a long way and I have learned a lot with him alongside me. There is no doubt I will miss him.
“Ola will always have that special place in my heart, and I'm so grateful now that we managed to get that first win in Spain. At the same time I fully understand his move, and I wish him all the best and great results in the future.”