Paul Nagle to Partner Mikkelsen

Paul Nagle

Ireland’s Paul Nagle has taken over the role of co-driver to Volkswagen works driver Andreas Mikkelsen (N) at the Rally Australia.

Nagle is standing in for Mikko Markkula (FIN), who is currently recovering from two injured vertebrae. The Norwegian/Finnish duo had to withdraw from last week’s Rally Germany at the last minute, as Markkula’s injury was too severe to allow him to start at Volkswagen’s home event. In order to give Markkula sufficient time to recover fully, Nagle has agreed to take the Finn’s place in the passenger seat of the number 9 Polo R WRC.

Nagle is no unknown quantity for Mikkelsen. The pair have known each other since they went head to head at the Rally Ireland in 2007. Back then, Nagle was co-driver to Britain’s Kris Meeke, with whom he won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2009. Coincidentally, Markkula won the co-driver competition in the IRC the following year, while Mikkelsen claimed back-to-back victories in the IRC Drivers’ Championship in 2011 and 2012.

“We are pleased to have found such a competent replacement so soon after Mikko’s withdrawal,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Paul has a wealth of rallying experience and, with his professional approach, will definitely meet our expectations. We wish Mikko a speedy recovery. He can now take his time and concentrate fully on ensuring he gets back to full fitness. As soon as he has recovered from his injury, he will take his place next to Andreas again.”

“It is obviously a great shame that Mikko will also be missing for the Rally Australia. However, the good news is that we have found a good replacement,” added Mikkelsen. “For me, it was important to find a co-driver, with whom I can communicate in English in the cockpit. Mikko and I changed the style of our pace notes ahead of this season, and both switched from our native language to English. It is an advantage for me not to have to change language again.”

The Rally Australia (12-15 September) is the tenth round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. After five wins from nine rallies, Volkswagen works driver Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia (both F) lead the Drivers’ Championship, with team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) in third place. Volkswagen also leads the Manufacturers’ Championship.

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