Andreas completes pre-season test rallies with 2nd on Rally Finnskog

Andreas Mikkelsen finished 2nd on Rally Finnskog (2 February) in a ŠKODA Fabia S2000, completing the icy eight stage event just 10.3 seconds behind Mads Østberg’s World Rally Car.
The result gives the Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion and former ŠKODA UK Motorsport driver the lead in the Norwegian Rally Championship, but more importantly it completes a highly successful two-rally pre-season test programme in which Andreas and new co-driver Mikko Markkula were able to fine-tune their pace note system under competitive conditions.
The 63.2 mile (101.72km) Rally Finnskog was held on snow and ice-covered forest roads near Kongsvinger in Norway. There were four different special stages, each tackled twice.
Østberg led initially, before a fuel pump problem on SS3 gave a hard-charging Andreas the lead. Despite the normally-aspirated Fabia S2000 being less powerful that Østberg’s turbocharged Fiesta WRC, Andreas held onto the lead until the penultimate stage.
Just 1.1 seconds separated the dueling duo as they entered the final stage, and despite it being a treacherously slippery 14.7 miles (23.67kms) long, Andreas was only 9.2 seconds slower than Østberg at the flying finish.
Coming two weeks after finishing 2nd on the Arctic Rally in Finland, the performance on Rally Finnskog concluded what had been perfect pre-season preparation, as the thoughts of Andreas and Mikko now turn to their next rally together – their debut for Volkswagen Motorsport on Rally Portugal (11-14 April).
Andreas: “Rally Finnskog was another really good event for Mikko and I to establish our pace note system even more and the fight we had with Mads Østberg in his World Rally Car showed that we can be very fast in a car together. Mikko and I have done some testing together, but it’s a lot better to do some proper rallies and I’d like to thank EVEN management for letting us drive its ŠKODA Fabia S2000 and contest the Arctic and Finnskog events. It has been two very valuable rallies for us, before the serious business starts in Portugal.”
It was also a good day for Andreas’ former co-driver, Ola Fløene. He won the opening round of the Swedish Rally Championship, Vinterpokalen 2013, navigating for Pontus Tidemand (another EVEN management driver).
And congratulations to Ole Christian Veiby, the 18-year old son of EVEN boss Erik, who recorded some top 20 stage times to finish Rally Finnskog in style and make it a triple celebration for the Norwegian team!