Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene are counting the kilos ahead of next week’s Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox (26 – 28 February).

The pair want to lose some weight ahead of the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship and have spiced up their efforts with a little friendly rivalry.

Not content with a dominant WRC2 season-opening at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, the Norwegians have challenged each other to lose as much weight as possible before they return to their Toksport-run Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo in search of back-to-back category wins.

“I don’t think I’m the fat guy,” Mikkelsen said, “but Ola and me have both gained a little bit of weight. I know Ola and I know the best way to get him into this is to make it a competition for who can lose the most before we start in Finland.

“He will be going to the extremes to do this, he hates to lose. He will eat like six bananas for breakfast then nothing else all day and he will be training like a crazy man. I’m going to increase my training and eat better food.”

Mikkelsen all smiles after Monte masterclass

The three-time world rally winning Norwegian was the class of the WRC2 field in the French Alps and has a strong record in the snow as a three-time podium finisher at Rally Sweden.

From the start of the season, Mikkelsen has been clear that he doesn’t just want to win WRC2, he wants to dominate all his Rally2 rivals. He knows that could be more complicated next week.

“The competition will be tough in Finland,” added Mikkelsen. “We know there are going to be a lot of fast Finns there, they are always difficult to beat – and, of course, there’s Esapekka [Lappi] coming to the event as well.”