ERC Q&A: Andreas Mikkelsen
A winner in the FIA European Rally Championship but also a winner of Rally Poland following his victory in Mikołajki back in 2016, this is what the Škoda-powered Toksport WRT ace from Norway has said.
What’s good about Rally Poland and what challenges will you face as a driver?
“It has always been one of my favourite rallies, the profile of the road, the speed, a little bit of loose but it’s quite high grip. Because it gets a bit rutted that means you can lean on the ruts quite a lot and really throw the car into the corners. That gives a nice sensation on the fast, flowing roads. I’ve always been competitive there because it’s a fast rally and you have to be really committed, but that means it’s good fun.”
Given your career record and long list of achievements, you start the event as one of the favourites so what does that mean to have such a target on your back?
“That’s fine, it’s quite natural when you’ve won the World Rally Championship event there, you’re going to be one of the favourites to win. In that way it’s nice but to win in Poland you have to be so committed from the beginning, so it doesn’t matter that much who is the favourite. It’s important to have a good qualifying so you can have a good road position and just go for it.”
The Qualifying Stage format means the starting position is effectively in your hands if you can produce the goods in ‘qualifying’. Is that your view?
“Exactly. I remember from the rally before [in 2017] it was quite dusty and we’ll have to keep this in mind as well because dust can be an issue when you are choosing your road position.”
You’ve got quite an intensive schedule of events coming up. How crazy will it be?
“We have Poland coming up, then the plan is to go to Safari, then it’s Liepāja for ERC and then Estonia. It’s lots of fast, gravel rallies to come and I’m looking forward to that.”
It’s an incredible entry list for Rally Poland with 40 Rally2 cars in action alone. Are you ready?
“It will be strong with lots of fast guys. You have Lukyanuk, Breen, Gryazin, these three in particular will be really fast [because of their experience] so I expect a big fight in Poland.”