ANDREAS MIKKELSEN HAS VOWED TO REGAIN HIS PLACE IN HYUNDAI’S ASPHALT RALLY LINE-UP AFTER BEING AXED FOR THIS MONTH’S CORSICA LINEA – TOUR DE CORSE (28 – 31 MARCH).
Mikkelsen admitted the manufacturer’s decision to field sealed surface experts Dani Sordo and Sébastien Loeb alongside lead driver Thierry Neuville at the Mediterranean island classic was a blow.
“I want to fight for the championship and we can’t really do that now when we start to lose rallies. I’m very disappointed by that,” said the Norwegian at last weekend’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico.
“If the team thinks that’s a better decision for the team result, then you have to respect that and we’ll fight hard to be back in the next asphalt events,” he told WRC+ All Live’s Becs Williams.
Despite a disappointing 2018 campaign, Mikkelsen had been expected to contest all 14 rounds this season alongside Neuville, with Sordo and Loeb sharing the third i20 World Rally Car.
However, Hyundai is under intense pressure from its Korean headquarters to deliver the manufacturers’ title after fading in the second half of 2017 and 2018 when leading the standings and changed its plans.
The decision places a question mark over Mikkelsen’s position for the asphalt encounter at ADAC Rallye Deutschland (22 – 24 August) and Rally RACC Catalunya – Rally de España (24 – 27 October), which contains two days of sealed surface roads.
The Norwegian said he retained belief in his asphalt abilities and the decision would inspire him to regain his seat.
“You are motivated and you really want to show it was the wrong decision. I do believe that, even though my Tarmac results last year were not particularly good. I’m struggling on the way to drive the car on Tarmac. It’s very different to what I’ve been driving before.”
“I don’t doubt my driving skills on Tarmac. I won Rally Spain before so it’s just about understanding the way of driving with the different cars. I just have to fight to get more miles on Tarmac,” he said.