Andreas Mikkelsen Wins IRC
Andreas Mikkelsen is the new 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers’ champion – after winning the title showdown decider, the Cyprus Rally, in his factory-prepared ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000. Well done Andreas – a great drive, and season, in only your first full IRC year! Incredible! Andreas has led the last six rounds of the series, won the final two rallies and set fastest time on an unmatched 38 special stages. ŠKODA said: "It’s been a highly successful IRC campaign for ŠKODA, which successfully defended its IRC manufacturers’ title. It recorded 100 fastest special stage wins out of a possible 150 during the year and six Fabia S2000s filled the top six finishing positions in Cyprus. Co-driven by Ola Fløene, Andreas set seven (out of 11) fastest stage times in Cyprus and led for all but one stage – losing his lead momentarily after a spin on SS3. The mixed-surface stages in the mountains above the host town of Pafos provided a great challenge and a fitting finale to a fantastic IRC season.. Andreas won the Cyprus Rally by 1min 40.5secs and become IRC drivers’ champion in sensational style." In recognition of his performance and achievement, Andreas received the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. The recipient is selected by a three man judging panel consisting of Jimmy McRae, Gilbert Roy (Eurosport) and Jean-Pierre Nicolas (IRC), and it’s the second time that Andreas has been honoured with the award (the first at the Prime Yalta Rally in Ukraine). Andreas said: "To become IRC champion is such a fantastic feeling, the likes of which I have never felt before. It’s been a tough season, which didn’t start so well in Monte Carlo but which has got better and better. We’ve had a fantastic second half of the year and, wow, to finish with a win in Cyprus and the IRC drivers’ title – I can hardly believe it has happened. It’s like a dream. The last three stages of this rally were the longest of my life and I was imagining so much noise in the car that I’ve never heard before. Crossing the finish line was very emotional and I was crying like a baby! I’d really like to thank everyone at ŠKODA UK Motorsport and ŠKODA Motorsport for giving me this opportunity this year. It’s a special moment for everyone." Robert Hazelwood, ŠKODA UK Director: "What an incredible end to the 2011 IRC season. I’m personally delighted for Andreas and Ola on their fantastic season, which has resulted in two wins and the IRC drivers’ title. Their championship win is richly deserved, as they’ve been getting faster and faster throughout the year and held their nerve under pressure – and nowhere more so than in Cyprus. Andreas is a very mature and quick driver, and it didn’t take him long to achieve his first major rally title. Many congratulations from everyone at ŠKODA UK." And from us at Team Road.