Andreas Mikkelsen feels only a win on his final Volkswagen outing will give him confidence to secure the runners-up spot in the World Rally Championship and with it his best career finish to a campaign.
The Norwegian driver looks set to finish third in the drivers' championship for a third consecutive year unless he overturns the 14-point deficit to Hyundai's Thierry Neuville in Rally Australia.
Due to the sizeable points difference Mikkelsen feels only victory down under can give him a realistic shot at beating Neuville, who in turn needs a top three finish to secure his runner-up spot at the final round.
Mikkelsen's best result at Rally Australia is third place which came in 2014 and the Volkswagen Motorsport driver feels the task will be all the more difficult with his stating position on the opening two days of action.
“We want to take back second place in the Drivers' and Co-Drivers' World Championship from my friend Thierry Neuville. To do so, we must go for the win,” Mikkelsen said. “However, this will not be easy, as we will be third onto the special stages. Despite this, we will apply pressure from the word go and give it our all.
“The biggest challenge at the Rally Australia are the sections with fast corners, which are hard to see. A rally in the jungle – that is the best description. I am certainly very motivated and looking forward to Australia, as I really like driving there.”
Reflecting on Volkswagen's decision to withdraw from WRC at the end of the year, leaving Mikkelsen and team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala without drives, the Norwegian is bracing for an emotional final outing which he hopes will end in one last triumph.
“The Rally Australia will be very emotional, as we all know that it is the final race for Volkswagen,” he said. “The team has become very close to my heart. I am very grateful for the great time together, and really want to bid farewell with a good result in Australia.”