Citroen doesn't want Andreas Mikkelsen for 'one shot' in WRC
|By David Evans||Wednesday, May 31st 2017, 14:11 GMT|
Citroen and Andreas Mikkelsen are already exploring ways to extend the Norwegian's World Rally Championship participation beyond his Rally Italy one-off.
The winner of the 2016 finale before Volkswagen's exit, Mikkelsen is yet to contest a rally in one of this year's revamped cars, but will join Citroen for Sardinia, replacing Stephane Lefebvre.
Mikkelsen is due to test Citroen's C3 WRC this week, and team principal Yves Matton said "Andreas has nothing to prove to us", with car availability the bigger barrier to a longer-term deal.
"We will not put him under any pressure, we just want him to find his level and drive at it," Matton told Autosport.
"I am quite convinced he can do a good rally in Italy if he can get comfortable in the car during the test and then improve that feeling through the event.
"When we asked Andreas to join us, for sure the intention was not for him to have one shot and then we say goodbye.
"We don't want drivers to come to us just once. For the moment I don't know [what can be done in the future].
"Car availability is difficult, we have a lot of demand on the cars. What we can say now is that we will take this step-by-step."
Citroen is already committed to running a maximum of four cars for Kris Meeke, Craig Breen, Khalid Al-Qassimi and Lefebvre on selected rounds.
Because of his off-road racing commitments, Al-Qassimi is on a limited programme, but running a fourth car on all remaining rounds would stretch the Paris-based team.
Mikkelsen's management has confirmed to Autosport that he would be available to Citroen for the rest of the season, his 2017 outings so far limited to a handful of Skoda WRC2 starts.
"I'm really, really happy with this deal," Mikkelsen said.
"This is what I have been waiting for and looking for, the chance to be back at the top level.
"Obviously this year the championship is destroyed for me, what's important now is to be in the best position possible for next year and I'm looking forward to testing the C3 for the first time.
"I tested the 2017 Polo last year and I have tested the Hyundai this season, so I have some experience of the cars.
"Of course, I would like to stay [at the top level of WRC] for the rest of the season."