Volkswagen's last WRC winner, Andreas Mikkelsen has been forced to shelve plans of securing a factory drive as he accepts a seat in a Skoda Fabia R5 machine for the Monte Carlo Rally later next month.
While the last remaining hope of a privately funded drive in a WRC-spec Polo for next season vanished, Mikkelsen and co-driver Anders Jaeger will make a guest appearance at Monte in the Skoda.
Mikkelsen honed his craft in Skodas before he was elevated to WRC status with the Volkswagen operation which has now shelved its frontline factory campaign after bagging the last four WRC driver's and manufacturer's titles.
Although producing the form of his career, Mikkelsen lost out in finding a new factory home as WRC transitions to its new era.
“It feels like I am coming home,” Mikkelsen said.
“Skoda gave me an opportunity right at the start of my career.
“I have so many fond memories of the Skoda Fabia and I'm really looking forward to getting back in that car.
“I hope I can get a good result for Skoda, although the ‘Monte' is a very difficult rally.”
With all but one of the positions filled for topline WRC drives, the R5 drive will at least keep the 27-year-old Norwegian in the game as he tries to cement a factory drive for 2018.
Mikkelsen's former VW team-mates, four-times WRC champion Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala have been placed at M-Sport and Toyota respectively for 2017.
Elfyn Evans is widely tipped to secure the final WRC drive in the DMACK Ford.