He won Finland’s WRC counter, the 1000 Lakes Rally, on seven occasions and remains tied at the top of the event’s honours list with fellow countryman Marcus Grönholm.
Mikkola was born in May 1942 and started his career on home country rallies in a series of Volvo cars. He scored his first win at the Pohjala Ralli in 1966 and took his first 1000 Lakes success two years later in an Escort Twin Cam.
He drove with a series of different manufacturers during the mid-1970s but it was at Ford that he made his name in the WRC. Partnered by Arne Hertz, he helped the Blue Oval win the manufacturers’ title in 1979, but missed out on the drivers’ crown by just one point.
A move to Audi transformed Mikkola’s career. He piloted a Quattro to two WRC wins in both 1981 and 1982 before clinching the drivers’ world title the following season with four victories in a Group B Quattro A2.
Mikkola achieved his final world rally win in Kenya in 1987, after which he moved to Mazda before departing the WRC on a full-time basis in 1991. He made 123 WRC starts and continued to compete as a guest driver at a variety of events until 2017.
The WRC sends its sincere condolences to his family and friends.