WRC2 driver Mikkelsen has emerged as one of the candidates M-Sport is evaluating for 2022 as it looks to bring in a driver capable of winning the WRC title for next year’s Rally1 hybrid regulations.
Team principal Richard Millener confirmed yesterday that it is looking at every P1 driver for 2022, revealing that it would be eager to lure Toyota’s out of contract Elfyn Evans back to the British squad.
While admitting enticing Evans back to M-Sport would be a big task, Millener also revealed that Mikkelsen, who has been competing in WRC2 for the last two years, is among the team’s potential targets.
“He [Andreas] is one of the drivers that is out there and it would be silly not to be discussing with but that doesn’t mean we have got any further than that,” said Millener.
“He’s done a good job in WRC2 and he maybe would like to be in WRC but there is nothing more than that at the moment.”
Asked by Motorsport.com about his plans for 2022, Mikkelsen confirmed that discussions are ongoing with M-Sport, while stating the Ford operation “would be an interesting place to be” for the new Rally1 era.
The 31-year-old Norwegian’s last top tier WRC appearance came in 2019 for the factory Hyundai squad.
“Obviously already since last year I have been in contact with them [M-Sport] for this year as well so in the end I got a very nice offer from Skoda and Toksport to do both WRC2 and ERC which was really good in the end,” said Mikkelsen, a three-time WRC rally winner with Volkswagen.
“But we are still in talks with M-Sport for the future and it would be a very interesting place to be for the future with the new regulations and I’m sure it will her very competitive. I can’t say so much more than that.”
M-Sport is currently fielding a pair of WRC Fiestas, one piloted by Britain’s Gus Greensmith, while the other is being shared by Finn Teemu Suninen and French rising star Adrien Fourmaux.
The team is yet to put a timeframe in place to firm up its 2022 driver line-up.
This weekend sees Mikkelsen return to the WRC2 field in his Toksport Skoda after sitting out Rally Portugal two weeks ago following a positive test for COVID-19.
“It feels great to be back obviously it was very difficult staying at home and in the end I never really felt sick,” he added.
“It was terrible to sit there and not do any driving but we are back in Sardinia and it feels good to be back in the rally car.
“Hopefully we can have a good result this weekend but it will be a tough challenge as the roads will be quite tough for the car and tyres.
“I think we will have to be a bit clever, but I enjoy this type of terrain and this type of rally, so I’m looking forward.”
Mikkelsen was sixth fastest in the WRC2 class in today’s Rally Sardinia shakedown which was topped overall by Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.