Mikkelsen, Markkula forced to withdraw from Rally Germany

Medical check-up prior to the World Rally in Germany has sidelined one of the Volkswagen teams. Co-driver Mikko Markkula complained of back pain at the Finnish event.

Mikkelsen, Markkula forced to withdraw from Rally Germany

Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) have had to withdraw from the Rally Germany for health reasons. A diagnosis prior to the start of the Rally Germany revealed that co-driver Mikko Markkula had fractured his seventh vertebra and partially fractured his eighth vertebra, presumably during the Rally Finland three weeks ago. Based on these findings, Volkswagen Motorsport took the decision to withdraw Mikkelsen/Markkula for health and safety reasons. Mikko Markkula had complained of back problems during the Rally Finland, but these had eased off after the rally. However, the pain returned during Monday’s “Recce”. The team decided to send Markkula for an MRI scan, which ultimately confirmed that the Finn would have to withdraw for health reasons.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport

Photo by: Volkswagen Motorsport

“Safety comes first, particularly when it comes to Mikko Markkula’s health,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “The fractured vertebrae were not easy to diagnose, which is why we took our time to ensure that we made the right decision. It would have been too risky to send Andreas Mikkelsen out with a co-driver, alongside whom he has not driven a single metre prior to the rally and who did not take part in the ‘Recce’. Andreas has changed his style of pace note this season, and Mikko is the only co-driver familiar with them. Unfortunately they must both withdraw from the Rally Germany and are very disappointed. Everyone in the team has their fingers crossed that Mikko will make a speedy recovery.”

Mikko Markkula, Polo R WRC #9 “I suffered severe back pains on the Sunday of the Rally Finland. We assumed it was muscular tension. The pain eased off after the rally, just as the doctors had said it would. However, it has returned over the past few days and I went to see Dr. Johannes Peil on Tuesday evening for a more accurate MRI scan. It was then that we determined I had fractured the two vertebrae. Nobody had considered that possibility, and it was obviously a shock because it meant we would have to withdraw from the rally at the last minute. We are really disappointed. I also feel sorry for the team, for whom we wanted to get a good result at our home rally. I am now hoping to get back to full fitness as soon as possible.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Polo R WRC #9 “I was very much looking forward to the Rally Germany and am disappointed that we cannot line up at our team’s home event. However, the health of my co-driver Mikko Markkula obviously takes priority. I hope his two vertebrae heal quickly and we can start together in the World Rally Championship again soon. We have worked hand in hand this season to develop what, for me, is a completely new system of pace notes, with which only he is familiar. It was not possible to find a replacement with such little time before the start of the rally. I will now try to support the team as much as possible in other ways. At least we completed the ‘Recce’, so we can call on that information over the coming years.”

Volkswagen Motorsport

shares
comments
Al Qassimi hopes for silver lining in Germany
Previous article

Al Qassimi hopes for silver lining in Germany

Next article

Ogier leads in Germany after Thursday’s stages

Ogier leads in Germany after Thursday’s stages
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021