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This week was a special anniversary for Norwegian VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen, because it was 10 years ago when Andreas’ rallying life suddenly took off.  

Martin Holmes and Ola Floene at Rally Poland 2016.He had gone to live in Britain because Britain allows people to drive at the age of 17.  Within days of his 17th birthday he took and passed his official driving test, two days later he had won his first rally – at the wheel of a World Rally Car!  

His co-driver was Ola Floene, now the M-Sport co-driver for Mads Ostberg.  I asked him why such a respectable person such as Ola was coerced into accompanying such a novice driver.  

“Henning Solberg phoned me and asked me to attend a test session.  I was very excited as I thought he was asking me to be his co-driver,” Ola says.  

“It turned out it wasn’t for Henning, but for this 16 year old called Andreas!   I guessed we would be competing in a small Group N car but no, it was to be in a 2002 Focus WRC, and the first thing was that Andreas needed was to learn pacenotes!  Actually, I immediately felt safe with Andreas”.  

Ola was later invited to join the VW group team in 2011 and stayed there off and on till the end of 2015 when he and Andreas scored their dramatic victory in Rally Catalunya.  

Ola: “It was not much fun leaving a team like VW.  We were one big family.  I miss the team, but everything here at M-Sport is new so I cannot complain.   I am happy because I love my sport.”   

VW remains a special memory for Ola.  

“I wonder who will replace Jost Capito at VW.  It will not be easy.  Jost has been a fantastic person.  He still keeps in touch even if you are not in the team, he is like this with everyone.  

“It does not matter with Jost if you are a driver or working in the kitchens, he’s your best friend and he wants to help.  If you need help, he is the first one to go to.  He is one of us.”
 
- Martin Holmes

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