Mikkelsen hopes to break asphalt rally duck on the Tour de Course

Defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Andreas Mikkelsen hopes to break his asphalt rally duck on this week's Tour de Corse.

The Skoda UK Motorsport driver has finished a close second on the last two rounds of the series - both of which have run on asphalt - and the Norwegian says victory on the French island event would mean a lot to him.

"I'm still chasing that first [asphalt] win," said Mikkelsen, "and this would be a special rally to get it on. I've been chasing it for a long time. We have been close and certainly on the Circuit of Ireland, the last round, we were really close and had a great fight with Juho [Hanninen]."

The Finn - a fellow Fabia S2000 driver - is not competing on the Tour de Corse, which starts from Ajaccio today, but there will be plenty more competition for Mikkelsen and his Skoda UK team.

"There are a lot of good guys out on this event," he said. "Dani [Sordo] in the Mini and [Giandomenico] Basso in his Fiesta will be quick and then there are drivers like Bryan Bouffier coming back again. It's not going to be an easy event."

This week's fourth round of the IRC will be one of the toughest of the season - and the longest Tour de Corse in recent years. Having latterly been based solely in Ajaccio as a round of the World Rally Championship, the IRC has encouraged the organisers of the event to roam further afield around the island, in the same way the classic Tour de Corse would have done.

After an Ajaccio start, the route takes crews through Calvi, Corte and up to the finish in Bastia on Saturday evening, completing close to 200 competitive miles.

Having won the opening round of this year's IRC, before finishing second on rounds two and three, Mikkelsen has an 18-point lead in the standings.

Source: Autosport