Andreas Mikkelsen has signed a two-year deal with Hyundai to join its driver roster on a full-time basis from the 2018 World Rally Championship.

The Norwegian driver, and co-driver Anders Jaeger, found themselves without a WRC drive for 2017 after Volkswagen’s shock exit from the sport at the end of last year.

After three WRC2 outings for Skoda, with victories at Rallye Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse, Mikkelsen returned to the premier class in WRC with the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT squad for three events and clinched second place at Rallye Deutschland last month.

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Having already landed a deal to drive for Hyundai at next week’s Rally de Espana, the Norwegian driver has signed a two-year deal for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Mikkelsen will join Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon as factory Hyundai drivers who all have contracts for the 2018 campaign.

Mikkelsen is naturally thrilled to secure his future at Hyundai for the next two years as he aims to target future drivers’ and manufacturers’ world titles.

“I am delighted that Hyundai Motorsport has offered me the chance to return to the WRC with a full-time seat for 2018 and 2019,” Mikkelsen said. “Even before my first rally with the team, I feel that I have settled in quickly, and it is clear to me that I am joining a world-class team with realistic chances of fighting for both drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.

“I look forward to helping to achieve these goals from Rallye Monte-Carlo next year, and making my own presence felt in the drivers’ title fight.” 

Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan says the former WRC event winner’s attributes and performances made him an obvious target and having been impressed by the Norwegian’s speed in testing he is relishing the prospect of Mikkelsen joining his three other driver set-ups.

“Andreas is one of those rally drivers who fits in quickly and just gets straight down to business,” Nandan said. “From the few times he has already been to visit the factory in Alzenau, his determination and professionalism have shone through.

“We are pleased to have him on board in a full-time capacity for two complete seasons. He has already had the chance to experience the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in testing, and has delivered us positive and useful feedback.

“He has also driven our i20 R5, which has further allowed him to integrate into all areas of our team. We can’t wait to see him in action as a Hyundai Motorsport driver in the final three events of the season, into next year and beyond.”