Archive | 2013 FIA World Rally Championship

03 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Moving mountains – WRC victory for Latvala and Volkswagen at Rally Greece

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Greece: Latvala/Antilla

At last, he’s done it! Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila finally finished first in a round of the FIA 2013 World Rally Championship over the weekend, clinching the top podium position at the Rally Greece. Volkswagen’s fourth win from six rounds so far this season, there was more good news for the German team. Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkulatook fourth place, while leaders of the championship, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, came in tenth after, retiring from the event in day one with technical problems. The Rally Greece is considered the ultimate test in the WRC, because of its severely dusty, coarse gravelled and rocky stages. With such difficult conditions, the drivers’ starting positions on the three days of rallying played a crucial role in determining their chances.

The first day started well. Ogier and Ingrassia set the fastest time in qualifying, earning them the chance to choose their starting position for the first day of stages. Mikkelsen and Markkula were sixth, while Latvala and Antilla finished ninth. Ogier opted to start the opening leg in eleventh place, making him the last of the drivers in the WRC category. Latvala was the fourth man out onto the route, right behind Andreas Mikkelsen, who started third. But the day’s good fortune, soon diminished. Fuel pressure problems on Polo R WRC #8 saw Ogier and Ingrassia’s lead slip away. A cable connection on the car had come loose, interrupting the supply of power to the fuel pump, and even though the Volkswagen Motorsport mechanics replaced the wiring loom, a 10-minute penalty was enforced on the French pair.

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06 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Rally Argentina – Volkswagen retains its 2013 World Rally Championship lead

2013 Volkswagen Polo WRC: Rally Argentina, Latvala/Antilla

Volkswagen Motorsport has been in celebratory mood once more, after another successful round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. Rally Argentina saw the Hanover-based outfit take two podium places, extending its lead in the drivers’ championship, and retaining its top spot in the manufacturers’ standings. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took second place behind record-breaking world champion and Citroën driver Sébastien Loeb, claiming their fifth podium place in this season’s WRC after their fifth outing with the Polo R WRC. After starting the final day in Argentina in fourth position, Jari-Matti Latvala/and co-driver Miikka Anttila fought their way into third place and their second podium finish of 2013.

With their double victory in the final Power Stage, the two Volkswagen drivers also secured five extra points in the drivers’ competition. One third into the season, Ogier and Ingrassia are now 54 points clear at the top of the drivers’ leader board, while Volkswagen is now 14 points ahead of Citroën in the manufacturers’ championship. Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula in the third Polo R WRC finished Rally Argentina in eighth place under Rally 2 regulations, achieving impressive top times in their second event with the car.

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17 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Unflappable Ogier and Polo R WRC take victory at Rally Portugal

2013 Volkswagen Polo WRC: Rally Portugal, Ogier/Ingrassia

It looked as though it may not happen, but Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia were once again victorious in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship yesterday, lifting the trophy at Rally Portugal. The third win of the season for Volkswagen Motorsport, Ogier was recovering from the end of flu at the start of the event, and took victory ahead of Citroën’s Mikko Hirvonen and Polo R WRC team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, who celebrated their first podium finish of 2013. The third Polo R WRC driver, Andreas Mikkelsen, made a promising start to his Volkswagen career, coming in sixth with his co-driver Mikko Markkula. With points scored at the fourth event of 2013, Volkswagen now sits at the top of the FIA World Rally Championship manufacturer’s table. Ogier heads the drivers.

Despite his illness, Ogier performed well, right from the start, emerging with a slender lead at the end of day one. Four stage wins on Saturday retained his grip on the lead, a lead he held until the finish of the event on Sunday. But, his drive wasn’t without problems. Both he and Latvala suffered mechanical failures on the final day of the event. Ogier’s connecter between the front and rear axles (which allows the handbrake to be used in tight hairpins) refused to close, losing him time, while one of Latvala’s driveshafts broke, causing him to tackle the longest stage of the event – the 52.30km Almodovar stage – with just rear-wheel drive. He ultimately surrendered his then-second place, but still drove superbly enough to finish in third place overall.

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09 April 2013 ~ 3 Comments

Polos on parade at Rally Portugal – three Polo R WRCs line up for the first time

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: 2013 Rally Portugal – Fafe Rally Sprint

The fourth round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship will see three Polo R WRCs take to the start line for the first time. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala are joined for the rest of season by Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Andreas Mikkelsen from Rally Portugal onwards. Along with his co-driver Mikko Markkula, Mikkselsen will contest events in the number 9 Volkswagen Motorsport car, and represent a theoretically second team – Volkswagen Motorsport II, which will allow the Norwegian/Finnish duo to have access to ten test days this year, rather than having to share this limited development time with their team-mates.

Testing has already taken place on the Algarve coast, with each crew spending two days putting the rally Polos through their paces at the end of March. The second gravel event of the year, the Rally Portugal from 11-14 April will see 386.73 kilometres driven over the course of 15 special stages. Mikkelsen has already had his first taste of WRC action in Portugal, as he took part in the Fafe Rally Sprint at the weekend, a 6.34km event in the north of the country. Finishing in fourth place, he and Markkula tailed the Citroën DS3 of Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, at the 10,000-spectator strong event. Ogier also was due to compete at the Fafe Rally Sprint, but was forced to withdraw due to suffering from a bout of flu.

‘After three completely different rallies at the start of the season, the first “typical” WRC rally awaits us in Portugal,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. ‘Tough gravel routes, spring temperatures and – unlike at the Rally Mexico – stages at just above sea level: we will probably come across the same kind of conditions at the coming rallies in Argentina, Greece and Italy. As such, the Rally Portugal provides us with another important indicator of what the Polo R WRC is capable of. Furthermore, we will also send a third driving pair into action at every rally from now on, in the form of Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula. Andreas and Mikko have already been very successful in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and are now deservedly taking the next big step into the top flight of rallying.’

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11 March 2013 ~ 3 Comments

Marvellous in Mexico – Ogier takes second WRC win of the season

Volkswagen Polo R WRC: 2013 Rally Mexico

A sign of things to come? Fresh from their victory at Rally Sweden in February, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took victory at the Rally Mexico yesterday, with a lead of three minutes and 28 seconds over Finnish pairing Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen. The Volkswagen Polo R WRC drivers scored a total of 16 stage wins to win the third round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, with Ogier driving flat out to beat the chasing Citroën DS3 pairing. The Frenchman dominated the event from start to finish, and along with Ingrassia, won all but seven of the 23 special stages with his consistent speed.

Polo R WRC number 7 car driven by Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila didn’t fare so well, retiring from the event after hitting a rock just metres into the first special stage of day two. However, under Rally 2 regulations, the Finns were able to re-enter the event for Saturday and Sunday’s action. Finishing in the top three on six of the ten special stages, Latvala also managed to clock the third fastest time on the Power Stage, earning himself a bonus point towards the WRC rankings in the process.

It wasn’t always easy. With temperatures reaching around 30 degrees Celsius, the 395km Rally Mexico is littered with descents from altitudes as high as 2671 metres above sea level, challenging both the car and its driver. Brake fluid almost heated to boiling point, but the Polo R WRC put in a flawless performance, demonstrating its durability through the dust-lined and gravel-surfaced 23 stages. Volkswagen Motorsport states that Ogier and Ingrassia’s victory s also one for its engineers who prepared the cars especially and meticulously for the demanding event.

Surrounded in controversy, Ogier almost had an altercation too – a closed gate at the 32nd kilometre of the 18th stage, ‘Otates 2’, meant that he had to implement an emergency stop from full rally speed. Ingrassia then had to leap out of the car and open the gate before the two Frenchmen could continue on their way. Despite losing 37 seconds, Ogier’s time was still good enough to finish sixth fastest on the stage.

Ogier was euphoric with his win: ‘What a fantastic feeling. The Polo R WRC was perfect for every single minute of the Rally Mexico. I can only thank my team for that. This victory at our debut on gravel is very special and will always have a special place in my heart. We take every win as it comes. This morning I took an extremely cautious approach on the first special stage and steered around every stone. However, from midway through I put my foot down again. We obviously have a big lead now in the World Rally Championship, but there are still another ten rallies to come.’

Although his retirement prohibited him from coming in the top five, Latvala gained valuable Polo R WRC experience. ‘No sooner had the rally started than things took a turn for the worse for us. We had to give up after a matter of metres on Friday, due to suspension damage we received when we hit a stone. After that, we tried a few things with the car and I worked on my driving style. By the end of the rally, I felt more comfortable than ever in the Polo. I now have a better understanding of the handling characteristics. That gives me a lot of motivation ahead of Portugal. Winning a point on the Power Stage was a nice way to finish,‘ he said.

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director was pleased with the Polo R WRC’s gravel debut: ‘Never in our wildest dreams did we expect this kind of success at our very first gravel rally with the Polo R WRC. We prepared meticulously for the World Rally Championship, and left nothing to chance in the run up to the Rally Mexico. As such, the win in Mexico is a success for the entire team; mot only on-site, but also at home in Hannover and Wolfsburg. It is impossible to overrate Sébastien Ogier’s performance: the Ogier factor was what made the difference here. It allowed us to challenge for the win right from the word go. Jari-Matti Latvala’s performance was no less impressive. He was really unlucky right at the start of the rally, but fought back magnificently. The suspension damage he suffered has shown us that we can still improve the Polo R WRC.’

The fourth round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship will take place in Portugal from 11th to 14th April. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala will be joined in the Volkswagen Motorsport team by Andreas Mikkelsen, who will also drive a Polo R WRC.



2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, RALLY MEXICO: FINAL RESULTS

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 4h 30m 27s


2 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën + 3m 28.9s

3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford + 4m 23.8s

4 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën + 6m 06.7s

5 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Giovanni Bernacchini (Q/I), Ford + 8m 34.6s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 Sébastien Ogier: 74


2 Sébastien Loeb: 43

3 Mikko Hirvonen: 30

4 Dani Sordo: 27

5 Mads Østberg: 26

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