Archive | 2013 FIA World Rally Championship

16 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Maximum attack – unstoppable Ogier wins Rally Australia

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally Australia, Ogier/Ingrassia

He’s done it again. Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia took victory at the Rally Australia over the weekend. The Frenchmen scored maximum points, won 19 Special Stages, and came within in reach of the World Championship title. The sixth rally win of the season wasn’t without incident though; two of the pair’s competitors had punctures in the last 15km of the Power Stage, preventing the duo from claiming the championship title. One point away from taking the 2013 crown, Ogier and Ingrassia head into the next round, Rally France, 83 points ahead of their nearest rival, Belgian Thierry Neuville.

Impressively, given their supersonic pace at other rounds this year, Ogier and Ingrassia put in their best performance of the season so far in Australia, with only three best Special Stage times denied them. ‘Of course I’m pleased to have won here in Australia, but it’s disappointing to be on course to win the World Championship title and then lose it in the last kilometre. Apart from that, it was a fantastic rally for us. We won 19 of the 22 Special Stages and collected three points in the Power Stage, too. The Polo R WRC worked perfectly throughout the weekend, and the VW Motorsport team did a great job,’ said an elated Ogier.

Cars and drivers faced wide-ranging conditions in the southern hemisphere, with technical and narrow winding sections marking day one, while day two’s stages passed through open countryside. Day three was made up of fast sections through the rainforest. In Polo R WRC #8, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila notched up important points for Volkswagen in the Manufacturers’ Championship by coming fourth, while Andreas Mikkelsen and replacement co-driver Paul Nagle finished sixth overall, after leading the event at the end of day one. Several small mistakes meant that the duo fell behind on day two, though, before they fought their way back in the overall standings on day three. On the final day Mikkelsen and Nagle cleverly defended their position.

‘We were aiming to collect as many points as possible for the Manufacturers’ Championship, and we succeeded. However, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as we would have liked – the car span and we had a puncture during the final stage. But all that matters ultimately is the result, and it was a good one for Volkswagen Motorsport. On another positive note, I found my Polo R WRC’s perfect set-up for fast gravel rallies in Australia, which will come in very handy for other rallies,’ enthused Latvala.

‘The Rally Australia became really dramatic in the last few kilometres. From the point of view of the Manufacturers’ Championship, everything that happened in the Power Stage was good for Volkswagen. Unfortunately, it also meant that Sébastien Ogier was unable to clinch the title early. He did a fantastic job, won more convincingly than at any other event this season, and did everything right. He would’ve deserved to go away as World Rally Champion today, but the decider will have to wait. The battle for the WRC Manufacturers’ Championship will enter its next phase in France. Thanks to Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, we’re in a better position than we were before the Rally Australia. We’re really happy – even though the icing on the cake is missing,’ explained Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.


1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 19m 55.0s

2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: +1m 32.1s

3 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën: +2m 02.1s

4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miika Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: +2m 57.4s

5 Mäds Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford: +3m 17.2s



1 Sébastien Ogier, 212

2 Thierry Neuville, 129

3 Jari-Matti Latvala, 110

4 Mikko Hirvonen, 103
5 Dani Sordo, 96



1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 299

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 251
3 Qatar WRT, 145

4 Qatar M-Sport WRT, 142

5 Jipocar Czech National Team, 51

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02 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Home event heartache – Volkswagen Motorsport misses out at Rally Germany

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally Germany, Ogier/Ingrassia

It was heartache for Volkswagen Motorsport at the recent Rally Germany, which took place in and around the vineyards of the Trier region of Germany, near Cologne from 22-25 August. The team missed out on a podium place, and suffered repeated runs of bad luck on its ‘home’ event. The first time the Polo R WRCs haven’t scored a place in the top three finishers, both Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala were unlucky in the vine-lined tracks and surrounding countryside. Third driver Andreas Mikkelsen didn’t even start the event, as his co-driver Mikko Markkula was unable to compete in the rally due to two injured vertebrae. However, eight of the fifteen stages held were won by the Polo R WRC at this purely asphalt-based rally. Moreover, at least one Volkswagen driver finished every stage in the top three.

It started well for Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia, leading the event after two stage wins on day one. Entering day two as overall leaders, the French duo then skidded on a slippery corner, with Ogier missing his braking point, damaging their Polo R WRC’s front suspension. After trying to continue at a much slower speed, they were forced to sit out the rest of the day’s action, the stricken Polo sitting bonnet first in a row of vines. However, all was not lost – under Rally 2 regulations, the pair were allowed to resume on day three, and recorded three fastest stage times from a possible five. Day four’s fastest time on the rally’s final stage of softened the blow, with the Frenchmen adding the Power Stage’s three points to their tally in the drivers’ championship, which keeps them at the top of the pile.

‘Of course, that is not how we hoped the weekend would pan out, but we were still able to make the best of it. The win in the Power Stage at the end was a nice success and may still prove to be important in the shake-up for the World Championship. I’m sorry for the team that we were not able to win our home rally. I’m really happy for Dani Sordo, because he has had a tough season so far and a first World Championship win is always something special. I’m now looking forward to Australia, and both Julien and I will be trying to edge ever closer to that 2013 World Championship title,’ said a disappointed but wistful Ogier.

Following Ogier and Ingrassia’s retirement, Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila took the lead and the Finnish pair continued to build on their advantage until the eleventh stage. Their best asphalt performance to date, Polo R WRC no 7 clipped a ‘Hinkelsteine’ concrete block on the ‘Arena Panzerplatte’ stage, damaging the passenger door. Anttila then had to hold and relay pace notes in his left hand and stop the door from flying open on every corner with his right hand. The resulting slight delay in communication between co-driver and driver saw them slide from the track after damaging the rear suspension, forcing their retirement. But, like Ogier and Ingrassia, the Finns resumed under Rally 2 regulations, and collected valuable drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship points with a third place Power Stage finish.

‘Let’s start with the positive: I have improved on my performances on asphalt from the past. I had never led an asphalt-based rally before and the times show that I am getting better on this surface. There is still room for improvement, but I’m happy that I was able to pick up some more points for the team in the constructors’ championship after yesterday’s disappointment, even though the result was anything but perfect for me personally. Nevertheless, I’ll be going into the upcoming rallies with confidence and will do everything I can to give my team the best chance in the fight for the Constructors’ Championship. I’m happy for Dani Sordo, who is celebrating his first ever World Championship rally win here in Germany,’ commented Latvala.

Jost Capito, Director of Volkswagen Motorsport was reflective: ‘To win eight of the fifteen stages is a good sign and matches the amount we have been achieving prior to the Rally Germany. The Polo R WRC is also competitive on asphalt. However, our home race did not go as we had imagined or hoped it would. And that’s disappointing for us. Both Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala led the rally at some stage, but were forced to retire. We were close to victory, but missed out. In sport, you can’t plan success, and nor take anything for granted.

‘This is especially the case in the WRC, where it’s about every detail and no mistakes can be made. And it is exactly this which makes our sport so fascinating. We will now work hard to be successful at Rally Australia. We send our congratulations to Dani Sordo for his deserved maiden victory in the WRC, which was overdue.’ Spaniard Sordo’s Rally Germany win means Citroën remain undefeated on asphalt for almost ten years. Latvala/Anttila finished the ninth race of the season in seventh, while Ogier/Ingrassia were 16th.


1 Daniel Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën: 3h 15m 19.4s

2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: +53.0s

3 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën: +2m 36.1s
4 Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst (CZ/CZ), Ford: +8m 00.8s

5 Robert Kubica/Maciek Baran (PL/PL), Citroën: +9m 1.3s



1 Sébastien Ogier, 184
2 Thierry Neuville, 109
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, 98
4 Dani Sordo, 96
5 Mikko Hirvonen, 88


1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 262
2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 236
3 Qatar M-Sport WRT, 129
4 Qatar WRT, 124
5 Jipocar Czech National Team, 51

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05 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

A flying finish for Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport at Rally Finland

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally Finland, Ogier/Ingrassia

Despite a faltering start, Volkswagen Motorsport and Sébastien Ogier won Rally Finland, which took place from 2-4 August. It was Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia’s fifth win of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, and the first time the French pair have emerged victorious at the Finnish event. They have extended their lead at the top of the drivers’ championship leaderboard by 90 points. Luck wasn’t quite so forthcoming for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila on their home event, as their Polo R WRC suffered suspension damage on the first day. Starting day two running to Rally 2 regulations due to their retirement the day before, the pairing finished the event in 17th place. Their team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula finished tenth. The win in Jyväskylä was the sixth triumph for a Polo R WRC in eight rallies.

Qualifying started well, with Ogier and Ingrassia posting the second fastest times. The 324km-long Rally Finland opened with a three-way battle between Ogier and Ingrassia, and Ford drivers Thierry Neuville and Mads Østberg. The Frenchmen were 5.2 seconds behind Neuville, while Mikkelsen and Markkula were six places behind their team-mates. Latvala and Anttila unfortunately hit a rock at the side of the road, damaging the rear left suspension of their 315bhp Polo R WRC. Managing to limp through two stages, they had to call it day. The Volkswagen Motorsport service team worked though the night however, so the Finnish duo restarted the forest event on Friday morning under Rally 2 regulations.

Day two saw Ogier and Ingrassia take the lead, winning seven of the day’s nine special stages and leading Neuville by 38.1 seconds. Mikkelsen and Markkula were forced to retire after a duel for fifth place with Citroën’s Kris Meeke, again due to suspension damage. Latvala’s and Markkula’s Rally Finland got progressively better, though, with the no 7 Polo R WRC being one of the fastest cars on the event. The Finns finished in the top three on six of the day’s nine stages. On the final day, Ogier and Latvala scored three bonus World Championship points, courtesy of second and third positions on the Power Stage. Prior to the Rally Finland, Volkswagen had won every Power Stage held this season.

Ogier also put in good times on the incredible “Ouninpohja” stage. With jumps of up to 60 metres in length, the classic stage on the fastest rally in the WRC, Ogier clinched the first run, with a lead of 2.6 seconds, which was stretched to 4.6 seconds. The 130km/h-fast Frenchman now holds the stage record, too, with a time of 15 minutes and 8.9 seconds. Ogier and Ingrassia will now go into Volkswagen’s home event at Rally Germany (22–25 August) with a purely mathematical chance of winning both the driver and co-driver competitions: should they increase their lead over their rivals by 22 points to 112, they would be out of reach of the chasing pack and guaranteed the titles. Since its debut at the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2013, the Polo R WRC has amassed 81 out of a possible 143 stage wins.

Ogier was justifiably pleased with his result: ‘It is impossible to describe how I feel! This win here in Finland is a dream come true for me. And to win in Sweden as well this year – it is a great feeling to win these two rallies this year ahead of the Nordic guys like Mads Østberg, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala. With a lead of over 30 seconds from the first two days, I did not want to take too many risks today. Only on the “Ouninpohja” special stage did I really push myself to the limit, as that stage is simply fantastic. For me, it was the first time in a World Rally Car and the speed with the Polo R WRC left me speechless. You pulse starts to race, you are full of adrenalin, and you enjoy every jump and every metre. My lead in the World Rally Championship has increased, but I am not concentrating on that today – I just want to enjoy the win with my team now. Without our well-oiled team, I would not be on the top step.’


1 Sébastien Ogier/Julian Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 2h 43m 10.4s

2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: + 36.6s
3 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford: +57.6s
4 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën: +1m 21.6s

5 Daniel Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën: + 6m 06.5s


1 Sébastien Ogier: 181

2 Jari-Matti Latvala: 91

3 Thierry Neuville: 91

4 Mikko Hirvonen: 73

5 Daniel Sordo: 69


1 Volkswagen Motorsport: 251

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT: 196

3 Qatar M-Sport WRT: 112
4 Qatar WRT: 107

5 Jipocar Czech National Team: 39

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29 July 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Ingrassia fit for Finland as Polo R WRC completes test sessions

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally Finland testing sessions

Lead Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC driver Sébastien Ogier will be joined by his regular co-driver Julien Ingrassia, following the all-clear by doctors after a recent shoulder operation. The Frenchman injured his collarbone while riding a mountain bike and has been recuperating, missing out on recent testing sessions with the Polo R WRC in Finland, ahead of Rally Finland, which starts on Thursday 1 August. Ogier has blasting through the Finnish forests with team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, carrying out tests ahead of the eighth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, 60kms away from the event’s base at Jyväskylä. In total, the 315bhp Polo R WRCs spend five days pounding the jump-heavy gravel tracks.

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Julien Ingrassia

Ingrassia returns following a successful outing in the aggressive rallying Polo at the weekend, and replaces Ogier’s stand-in co-driver Nicolas Klinger. ‘I am so relieved that I have managed to get back to full health in time for the Rally Finland. My thanks go out to the doctors for the great job they have done on me and the whole Volkswagen team, who have always supported me and sent me their best wishes. Now, I cannot wait to get back out on the road with Sébastien,’ said a please Ingrassia. Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito said: ‘The whole team is very happy that Julien is back to full health. Our main priority is always the well-being of our drivers. I would like to thank Nicolas for the great levels of commitment he demonstrated in the most recent test runs and for his willingness to step in for Julien in Finland if he was needed.’

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25 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Super Sardinia – Ogier and Volkswagen back on top at Rally Italy

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Italy: Ogier/Ingrassia

Volkswagen Motorsport and Sébastien Ogier proved an unbeatable combination once again, as the team and driver took victory at Rally Italy last weekend. Ogier, along with co-driver Julien Ingrassia now dominate the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship drivers’ leaderboard 64 points ahead of their in-house rivals Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, while Volkswagen Motorsport sits atop the manufacturers’ standings. Ogier and Ingrassia triumphed in Sardinia over Ford driver Thierry Neuville, while Volkswagen Motorsport team-mates Latvala and Anttila took the final spot on the podium. Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula meanwhile, retired from the action early, due to suspension damage.

Ogier and Ingrassia set seven fastest times out of 16 special stages, with Latvala and Anttila taking a further six. Ogier dominated the field from day one, and kept up his pace – but at the same time being easy on his tyres – resulting in his fourth win of the season. ‘It feels fantastic to be back on top of the podium again! I’m delighted – the team did a fantastic job and the Polo ran like a dream all weekend. We now have a very comfortable lead in the Drivers’ Championship rankings. The rally was incredibly demanding physically, due to the high temperatures. On the second day in particular, you came close to your limits and you easily lost three to four litres of fluid. My tyre-friendly driving style was no doubt one of the reasons for my victory. I was especially pleased to once again win the Power Stage. I had a tough fight on my hands with Thierry Neuville, who was incredibly fast,’ said an ecstatic Ogier.

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