Mikkelsen blames Hyundai for staying out of WRC in 2023

Andreas Mikkelsen reveals that Hyundai had stopped answering the phone last year resulting in Toksport finding another drivers for this season while he is willing to follow Esapekka Lappi's plan.

The Norwegian driver became WRC2 Champion in 2021 with Toksport and renewed his deal with the team for 2022 season, but he lost the battle to defend his title last year as his teammate Emil Lindholm won the WRC2 Championship. After Ott Tanak's and Oliver Solberg's departures from Hyundai Motorsport at the end of 2022, there were two available seats for 2023 and it was tipped that Andreas Mikkelsen was close to secure a WRC drive with the hybrid i20N. However, the Alzenau-based team announced Esapekka Lappi as Tanak's replacement and Craig Breen/Dani Sordo as part-times which means that Mikkelsen's option was only M-Sport and WRC2. As Pierre-Louis Loubet was confirmed by M-Sport Ford, Toksport had already announced its crews for this season, therefore Mikkelsen lost his chance to extend his contract with Toksport and Skoda Motorsport.

"The situation with Hyundai was very bad last year", Hyundai said.

"Basically, they stopped answering the phone and when they did answer, Toksport had made other plans and there was no space for me. 

"Of course I want to drive for Toksport; let’s see what happens.

"I know I am still good enough to drive at the highest level and that’s the target for next year.

"In the optimal situation I would do the full WRC2, but it’s difficult to get sponsorship for that. 

"What I will do is some rounds of WRC2 – but I’m not interested in going to Kenya or places like that, I want to go to the rallies where we know everybody will compete.

"This is going to be events like Portugal or Finland, those events where the competition is really high in WRC2. 

"I want to go there and I have to beat everybody. 

"OK, I know there could be a puncture or something like that, but I have to show that I am the fastest and that I am the right person to get back to a Rally1 seat next year.

"Last year was one of my best seasons in terms of the performance.

"Apart from one mistake in Greece, I think I did everything I could.

"I know a full season would be good, but look at what Esapekka Lappi did a couple of years ago. 

"Basically he won WRC2 in Arctic Rally and then in Portugal, where I couldn’t compete because of COVID. 

"That was enough for him and that’s what I want to do. 

"I have to show everybody that I am the fastest".

Source: DirtFish.com

Photo Credits: Toksport

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