Škoda UK Motorsport is delighted to announce that Andreas Mikkelsen will drive for the team in 2011, contesting the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in a Fabia S2000 Facelift. The 21-year old Norwegian driver will be co-driven by Ola Fløene.

Škoda UK Motorsport’s IRC programme will continue to be works supported, and the arrival of Andreas strengthens the importer team’s already very close relationship with Škoda Motorsport. Pre-season testing will allow Andreas to get acclimatised to the Fabia S2000 and the BF Goodrich tyres before the opening round of the IRC, Rallye Monte Carlo (19-21 January).

Andreas has important IRC experience, having contested seven rounds of the 2010 series and finishing in the points on four occasions. He finished a close second to Juho Hänninen (Škoda) on the RACMSA Rally of Scotland, and most recently won the inaugural Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally.

Andreas has already rallied a Fabia S2000 on the Rallye de France (Round 11 of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship) and will drive the same car, run by Škoda Rally Team Italia, on this weekend’s Wales Rally GB – the final round of the WRC.

Before he began rallying, Andreas was a member of the Norwegian national junior alpine skiing team and competed to the same level in motocross. He passed his driving test in England just a few days after celebrating his 17th birthday, and followed this up by taking part in, and winning, the Quinton Stages Rally.  Aged 17 years and 16 days, he became the youngest ever winner of a British national rally. He also won the Coracle, Plains, Bulldog and Cambrian rallies in the UK in 2006, as well as the Saaremaa Rally in Estonia, and made his WRC debut on Wales Rally GB the same year.

Coached by double World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm and European Motocross Champion Roy Snellingen, Andreas contested selected rounds of the WRC in 2007 and ʼ08, finishing a career-best fifth on the 2008 Swedish Rally and becoming the youngest driver ever to score points in a WRC event. In 2009, Andreas became Group N Norwegian Rally Champion and this year has rallied mainly in the IRC, driving a Ford Fiesta S2000.

Andreas: “I am very happy to be asked to join the Škoda family and to be given this opportunity from Škoda UK to do the 2011 IRC. It is a fantastic new step in my rally career and to be in a Škoda seat with all the experience from Škoda Motorsport. My goal will be to win the championship in 2011 – no more, no less.”

Robert Hazelwood, Škoda UK Director: “We are delighted to welcome Andreas to the Škoda UK Motorsport team. The combination of Andreas’ driving talent, his international rally experience, a championship-winning Fabia S2000, and our close relationship with the Škoda Motorsport factory team is a very exciting proposition. We are all greatly looking forward to the challenges ahead, and we are confident that the package we have created for 2011 will allow us to compete for victory in the IRC next year.”