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ERC NEWS 

Skoda: Mikkelsen learned from error

Andreas Mikkelsen's damaged Skoda, Monte Carlo 2011Skoda UK Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen has learned valuable lessons from his stage one crash on the Monte Carlo Rally, according to team chief Cathie Sleigh.

The Norwegian damaged the left-rear of the Fabia S2000 on the opening stage of the event. He made it through the stage, but could go no further having damaged the suspension.

Sleigh said: "Andreas has learned a lot here, there's no doubt about that. We will move on from here and re-focus ahead of round two. Andreas was pretty devastated about what happened on the first stage, but having talked to him it's clear that he has taken a lot on board.

"Undoubtedly, there is more for him to learn. He heard Petter [Solberg] talking about feeling his way in with the car and that's something which Andreas has recognised."

With a full programme of IRC rounds ahead for Mikkelsen - and a driver's seven best scores counting - Sleigh added that the team remained firmly in the fight for this year's title.

"This is not the end of the world," she said. "It's not the result we had planned, but there's still plenty of rallies to come.

"We hadn't earmarked this as a rally we were going to come and score plenty of points on - this was his first time on this rally so we're not really any better or worse off than before we arrived."

Mikkelsen remained in Monaco for the rest of the event and worked for the team.

"Usually a driver would fly home when this kind of thing happens," said Sleigh. "But Andreas stayed and met with our fleet customers, dealers and media guests. He got some pretty good dinners out of the deal, but he was completely professional and got on with what he had to do."

Mikkelsen added: "It was a tough result, really not the one we wanted, of course. I was sorry for the whole team, but we look forward from here. We didn't come here expecting too much from the result, but this wasn't good we're looking to Canarias now."

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