Skoda UK Motorsport driver Andreas Mikkelsen will contest the Italian Rally Championship as well as his full Intercontinental Rally Challenge programme.
Skoda Rally Team Italia, the Oleggio Castello-based firm which runs the UK Fabia S2000, will run the car for the Norwegian star on the six gravel rallies. Mikkelsen's first Italian outing will be on the Rally dell' Adriatic in Ancona.
He was in the Skoda Italia workshop this week for a technical briefing and practical tests which would enable Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Floene to make roadside running repairs to their Fabia S2000 should the need arise on an event. Mikkelsen also went through his plans for the next round of the IRC, Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles (14-16 April).
"It's a fantastic opportunity to do the Italian Gravel Championship with Skoda Rally Team Italia and I'm really looking forward to it," said Mikkelsen. "It's the same guys that run the IRC programme for Skoda UK Motorsport and who ran the Fabia S2000 for me on last year's Rally GB, so we already know each other well and these additional rallies will help us grow stronger as a team.
"As this year's IRC features mostly asphalt rallies, the Italian Gravel Championship will also help me to keep my speed up on the loose - so it's a win-win situation, whichever way you look at it."