Andreas Mikkelsen will return to defend his IRC title in 2012

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The newly-crowned Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers’ champion, Andreas Mikkelsen, will return to defend his title in 2012 in the same factory-prepared ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 that he and co-driver Ola Fløene won the series in this year.

Once again, the ŠKODA UK Motorsport team will also be an integral points-scoring part of ŠKODA’s drive to win the IRC manufacturers’ title for a third consecutive year.

The 22-year-old driver led the last six rallies of the 2011 IRC(Azores, Czech Rep., Hungary, Sanremo, Scotland and Cyprus), winning the last two events and claiming the title at Rally Cyprus. Andreas also recorded an unbeaten 38 fastest special stage times on his way to becoming the youngest-ever IRC champion.

A respected gravel driver, Andreas’ test program and FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy training have also turned him into an equally formidable driver on asphalt.

For its third full season in the IRC, ŠKODA UK Motorsport will once again enter a latest-spec Fabia S2000 prepared by ŠKODA Motorsport, which will continue to be run on events by the highly experienced ŠKODA Rally Team Italia.

Andreas: “I really couldn’t believe that we’d won the IRC drivers’ title when I crossed the finish line of the Cyprus Rally! We knew we had a chance of becoming 2011 champions. It was a slim chance, but it proves that in life you should never give up.

”I really want to thank ŠKODA UK for giving me this opportunity to drive for them in 2011 and I’m so happy to repay their faith in me by winning the drivers’ title. The aim now is to try to become the first driver to successfully defend his IRC title. We’ll be back in 2012 in a factory-prepared ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 to support ŠKODA in their attempt to claim the manufacturers’ title for the third year running.”

Robert Hazelwood, ŠKODA UK Director: “This has been a tremendous season, with dramatic highs and lows.  The high of ŠKODA winning the drivers’ title is fantastic, and does what we set out to do – to create excitement for the ŠKODA brand for our customers, our retailers and their staff, and our own staff.  I applaud Andreas and Ola on their achievement and can’t wait to get started on the exciting 2012 IRC campaign.”

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