Hyundai signs Andreas Mikkelsen for 2018-19 WRC seasons

Andreas Mikkelsen has secured a two-year deal with Hyundai that keeps him at the team through the 2018 and '19 World Rally Championships

Hyundai signs Andreas Mikkelsen for 2018-19 WRC seasons

Mikkelsen is making his debut for Hyundai at next week's Rally Catalunya, having made a late-season switch from Citroen.

Autosport understands that was always intended as the precursor to a full-season drive next year, when Mikkelsen and Thierry Neuville are set to be Hyundai's main line-up with Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon sharing the third car.

"I am delighted that Hyundai has offered me the chance to return to the WRC with a full-time seat for 2018 and 2019," said Mikkelsen.

"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 and making my own presence felt in the drivers' title fight."

Mikkelsen has already tested both Hyundai's World Rally Car and its R5, and team principal Michel Nandan said he had immediately impressed.

"Andreas is one of those rally drivers who fits in quickly and just gets straight down to business," said Nandan.

"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."

Mikkelsen was the only one of Volkswagen's works drivers unable to secure top-class employment when VW suddenly departed the WRC at the end of 2016.

He temporarily rejoined Skoda - which had taken him to the 2011 and '12 Intercontinental Rally Challenge titles - at the start of the season and dominated WRC2 in Monte Carlo and Sweden.

Mikkelsen first tested for Hyundai in April, and also had discussions with Toyota, but ended up returning to the World Rally Car ranks with Citroen.

He made three appearances for Citroen as it shuffled its driver line-up in the middle of the season, and achieved only its second podium of 2017 with second in Germany last month.

Mikkelsen replaces Paddon in Hyundai's line-up for Spain next week, with Sordo then expected to make way for him in Britain and Australia.

This season is the first time Hyundai has been in WRC title contention.

Though the team trails M-Sport by 64 points in the manufacturers' standings, Neuville is within 17 points of drivers' championship leader Sebastien Ogier with three rounds to go.

shares
comments
Ott Tanak set to reject Toyota 2018 WRC offer and stay at M-Sport

Previous article

Ott Tanak set to reject Toyota 2018 WRC offer and stay at M-Sport

Next article

Rally Poland wants WRC calendar place back after losing to Turkey

Rally Poland wants WRC calendar place back after losing to Turkey
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021