Andreas Mikkelsen has credited new co-driver Anders Jaeger for spurring him on to his best ever Monte Carlo Rally result after fending off Thierry Neuville on the final day of action.
The Norwegian spent the early part of the event in fourth position, but benefited from the retirements of Kris Meeke and Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala ahead to climb to second position heading into the final day.
However, with Hyundai's Neuville making big gains on the third leg, Mikkelsen was still under pressure over the course of the final stages, though his second place would be assured when his rival hit problems of his own.
A strong result to start his season, Mikkelsen levelled particular praise to new co-driver Anders Jaeger, who had been competing with WRC3 driver Ole-Christian Veiby in 2015.
“An absolutely fantastic start to the WRC season. Second at the 'Monte' – that is always going to be rather special. However, it was also the first rally with my new co-driver Anders Jæger – and to stand on the podium together is simply fantastic.
“I knew that Anders was talented, but he did a perfect job all weekend, for which he deserves my greatest compliment. It was typical 'Monte', making it the toughest possible debut for him. The many changes in the weather and varying road conditions, ranging from ice and snow to dry asphalt, meant we had to make a lot of amendments to the pace notes.
“We drivers also had to be wide-awake all the time. It is thanks to my ice spies, Bernt Kollevold and Timo Alanne, that we are stood on the podium as runners-up. Not to forget the entire team, who all did a perfect job again. To sum it up: an absolutely fantastic day for us.”