WRC: Andreas Mikkelsen to drive for Citroën at Rally Italia Sardegna
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team announces a sensational change in its line-up for Rally Italia Sardegna (8-11 June), the seventh round of the 2017 World Rally Championship. The driver of the #9 Citroen C3 WRC would be Andreas Mikkelsen. He will be navigated by Anders Jaeger.
After Volkswagen’s withdrawal from the WRC at the end of 2016, the third-placed driver of the last year’s championship didn’t find a seat in any of new 2017-spec World Rally Cars, participating in three WRC events as Škoda Motorsport driver in the WRC-2 championship. He won WRC-2 class at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Tour de Corse. Few days ago, he was leading WRC-2 classification at Rally Portugal before crashing out on the last special stage.
Mikkelsen will drive for Citroen in the Italian round only, along with Kris Meeke in the #7 car and Craig Breen in the #8 car. Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau will be back in the #9 C3 WRC at Rally Poland.
“After the first six rounds of the season, it would appear that the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s results have fallen a little short of the targets set at the start of the year. At the same time, Andreas Mikkelsen has been actively looking for a drive in the WRC’s top category. We have therefore come to an agreement for him to compete at Rally Italia Sardegna in one of our C3 WRCs. I think I can say that we are all delighted with this opportunity! Andreas has a fair amount of experience at this rally, which is not the case for us since the Abu Dhabi Total WRT didn’t compete in Sardinia last year. Given his limited preparation, Andreas won’t have a specific target for the rally. We’ll be just looking for him to drive at a pace that is consistent with how comfortable he feels in the car. We would like to thank the FIA and Skoda Motorsport for agreeing to this change and Stéphane Lefebvre, who is giving up his place on this rally. This is not a sanction of any kind, nor does it call into question our investment in the young drivers. The decision is merely intended to maximise Citroën’s chances. Stéphane accepted that it was necessary to put the team first in this casehe will still be in Sardinia to take part in recce and will then be competing at Rally Poland,” said Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal.
Andreas Mikkelsen added “It’s an open secret that I have been looking for a solution to keep competing in the top category of the WRC since the end of the 2016 season. I’m therefore very happy to be joining the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT at Rally Italia Sardegna. Citroën has an impressive competitive record in the WRC and I’m delighted to be able to work with a team like this. In winning the season’s opening gravel rally, the Citroën C3 WRC has shown it has potential and it seems to be making regular progress. I can’t wait to get my bearings in testing and then start working on preparing for the rally. I’ll no doubt be short of running time in the car at the start, but the main thing for me is to be back racing in the leading category in a strong team. I would like to thank everyone who has worked to make this opportunity possible.”
Photos: Citroen Racing,