Andreas Mikkelsen: IRC competition holds no fear

Andreas Mikkelsen, who will defend his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title with ŠKODA UK Motorsport in 2012, says he is not afraid of the close nature of the competition in the IRC and believes it’s actually making him better as a driver.

The winning margin on four rounds of last season’s IRC was less than two seconds with a mere 0.8s separating Jan Kopecký and Thierry Neuville at the finish of the Canon Mecsek Rallye in Hungary last September. Mikkelsen believes the battle for position in the IRC is the closest there is.

“The competition is really, really strong, especially on Tarmac,” said Mikkelsen, 22. “It’s definitely a place where I can really develop as a driver and push myself because the level of the drivers is so high. There are many drivers in the IRC who can win rallies – it’s tough competition and you really need to be on the pace out of the blocks to have a chance to win.”

Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene will begin their IRC title defence on Sata Rallye Açores from 23-25 February.

Close finishes in the IRC:

Canon Mecsek Rallye (2011): 0.8s
Barum Czech Rally Zlín (2011): 1.2s
Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Inglés (2011): 1.5s
Rallye Sanremo (2011): 1.5s
Rali Vinho Madeira (2009): 3.5s
Rallye Sanremo (2010): 4.4s
Rallye International du Valais (2008): 4.5s

Source: IRC Series