FIA WTCC debutant team NIKA Racing has announced that it has retained the services of popular driver Michel Nykjær for the 2013 season.
The Dane, 33, is an experienced and successful touring car racer having clinching two ETCC titles in 2007 and 2008 and domestic honours in the Danish championship in 2007 and 2009.
More recently, he was a title contender in last year's Scandinavian championship, losing out in the final rounds to team mate and former BTCC and WTCC star Rickard Rydell, and champion Johan Kristoffersson.
Nykjær is indeed no stranger to the FIA WTCC paddock, having raced as an independent for SUNRED in a Seat Leon in 2010 and 2011. He was a consistent points-scoring finisher, including a podium at Japan en route to 10th place in the overall championship. He just missed out on the Yokohama Trophy by an agonisingly close two points in 2011.
Speaking to the FIA WTCC website, Nykjær said how happy he was to be returning to the world stage.
"I'm thrilled to return to action in the WTCC, and especially with NIKA Racing," he said. "We have gained a huge respect for each other in our STCC programme, and we are definitely ready to take this step.
"The WTCC is incredibly competitive, but I think we have some important ingredients in place for a strong campaign," he added. "I know the majority of the circuits on the calendar, and the Chevrolet Cruze has been the car to beat over the past few years. I'm immensely motivated to get going and I will fight for every tenth, every lap!"
NIKA Racing Team Principal Nicklas Karlsson mirrored Michel's thoughts and said that he was looking forward to "taking the fight" to the more experienced teams in the upcoming season.
"Michel is one of the fastest touring car drivers in the world and we are delighted to extend our relationship with him," said Karlsson. "The combination of driver, car and a highly enthusiastic workforce gives us an encouraging platform on which to build over the season, and hopefully the tools we need to take the fight to out more experienced rivals."
by Dexter Fielding