WRC Rally Argentina: Mikkelsen on the up

Hans Christian Andersen was Danish – but Andreas Mikkelsen from Norway still believes in fairy tales, because so far his life has been written like one.

Having won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge against all the odds in a Skoda last year, he caught the attention of Volkswagen – competing with a Skoda team this year in the World Rally Championship as they prepare the new Polo R WRC.

And guess what? In the Fabia S2000 with its Wings For Life livery (Red Bull’s official charity, promoting research into spinal injury and rehabilitation) Mikkelsen is currently beating the established superstar Sebastien Ogier in the Rally Argentina: Volkswagen’s number one driver.

At first glance, it seems that Mikkelsen has everything. He was at the front of the queue when good looks were handed out and as soon as he passed his driving test aged 17 he was competing on rallies in Great Britain with a cutting-edge World Rally Car. He is still the youngest competitor ever to have scored points in the World Rally Championship, thanks to fifth place on the 2008 Rally Sweden.

When he moved to the IRC and won in Scotland three years later, Mikkelsen also became the youngest competitor ever to clinch an IRC round – aged just 22 years and four months. He also won the Italian Gravel Championship for good measure last year. So he’s clearly been listening to the advice from his coach and mentor, two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm.

But anybody who thinks that Mikkelsen has always had it easy needs to think again. At the end of the 2008 season his funding dried up, leaving a desperate Mikkelsen to rebuild his career all on his own. He admits that these were dark times. It would have been so easy to give up, walk away and find a more comfortable way of earning a living.

But instead he returned to Norway, living in a small flat in Oslo with his grandmother, and continued to chase his dream by calling and pestering anybody who might be able to help.

And that was the start of the story with Volkswagen Motorsport and Wings For Life. He already put in a mightily impressive showing at the Rally Sweden this year with the fledgling team, heading Ogier for much of the rally before eventually finishing 13th, just two places behind him.

Now, in their second encounter, it’s once again Mikkelsen showing his experienced team mate the way throughout one of the toughest rallies of the year. Anyone wondering who’s going to get the coveted number two seat at Volkswagen would be well-advised not to look much further.

Source: RedBull.com