Archive | 2014 FIA World Rally Championship

05 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Finn-ally! Latvala delivers spectacular drive to take 2014 Rally Finland win

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Finland: Latvala/Anttila

Finally (or should that be Finn-ally)! Breaking a four-year non-Finnish win run, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila reigned supreme at the 2014 Neste Oil Rally Finland, taking victory in their Volkswagen Polo R WRC.

The Finnish pairing won their home rally taking the victory all the way to the line, enduring a thrilling battle with team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. The margin of victory? 3.6 seconds.

Latvala was dominant in the second day of the Finnish event, but suffered a setback in the afternoon. A large pothole damaged a brake line and his Polo R WRC had no braking on the front right-hand wheel, losing him and Anttila 27 seconds from his overall lead.

With a slimmed-down lead of just 3.4 seconds, the Finn summoned up tenacity and a determined spirit on the final day, demonstrating his driving skills to take a commanding victory.

But it was the tense and close duel between Latvala/Anttila and Ogier/Ingrassia which was the main story of Rally Finland, with 25 of the 26 possible best times being scored by one or the other of the two Volkswagen duos.

Only Citroën’s Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle managed to keep up with the Volkswagen pairs, finishing third.

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30 June 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Polos on the podium in Poland: Volkswagen’s WRC success continues

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Poland: Ogier/Ingrassia

In a now-familiar scenario, Volkswagen Motorsport came out on top once more at Rally Poland last weekend (26-29 June). World Rally Champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored the 17th victory for the Polo R WRC, out of the 20 rallies in which it has competed.

It was a Volkswagen 1-2, as Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene finished second at the event in Eastern Europe. Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila put in a storming catch-up drive to complete the event in fifth place.

The Polish win was the 21st for Ogier and Ingrassia and the Frenchmen now have a 50-point lead ahead of team-mates Latvala and Anttila. It’s a Volkswagen 1-2-3 in the Drivers’ Championship, as Mikkelsen and Fløene sit under Latvala and Anttila. The first non-Volkswagen driver is Citroën’s Mads Østberg in fourth place.

The 315bhp, four-wheel drive Polo R WRC now has 30 podium positions under its tyres from 20 events. It was the first time the Volkswagen Motorsport team had lined up for Rally Poland, the seventh event of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar.

As usual, Ogier stormed through the fifth gravel rally of 2014, with a pace of 73mph over the 304.21km-long event. With the lead constantly alternating between him and Mikkelsen over the opening stages, the Frenchman was put under real pressure by the young Norwegian and had to put pedal to the metal to stay ahead.

Mikkelsen really was on fire, clocking up an average pace of 84mph over the 12.89km of the Wieliczki 2 stage – he went at full pelt for 80.21 per cent of this stage, setting a new fastest time record in the process.

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12 June 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Bellissimo! Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport victorious at Rally Italy

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Italy: Ogier/Ingrassia

It was business as usual in Sardinia, as Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored their fourth victory of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), and their 20th WRC win overall. That means Volkswagen remains unbeaten in 2014, increasing its winning run to 10 consecutive victories.

The other Volkswagen Polo R WRC crews also did well: Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were third, while Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene came home fourth.

Rally Italy was an event of excitement, as fans were treated to duel between Ogier and Latvala. Fighting for stage wins, Polo R WRCs numbers 1 and 2 were embroiled in battles for fractions of seconds, as well as the overall rally lead.

In a regular turn of events, Latvala suffered bad luck when he got a puncture and slipped down the leaderboard to third place.

Volkswagen Motorsport has stressed there is no team orders and its motto is ‘may the best man win’, which played to Latvala’s advantage on the fifth stage. Claiming the lead ahead of Ogier, the Frenchman won stages, matching his team-mate step for step.

With 100km of stages remaining before the rally reached its end, only 12.3 seconds separated the sparring team-mates.

An ecstatic Ogier said: ‘“I am overjoyed! This win was definitely one of the toughest of my career. Right from day one, Julien and I have pushed ourselves to the very limit here on Sardinia. In this heat, and with the extremely slippery conditions on the roads, we had to risk everything to put Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila under pressure.

‘It ultimately paid off, and we won. We may lead the World Championship at the halfway point in the season, but that is no reason to relax: Jari-Matti is on top form at the moment.’

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19 May 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Three-car triumph for Volkswagen Motorsport at Rally Argentina

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Argentina: Latvala/Anttila

Volkswagen celebrated its fifth win in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship at Rally Argentina (8-11 May), where Jari-Matti Latvala came home first, closely followed by current World Champion Sébastien Ogier. The third team driver, Andreas Mikkelsen, finished fourth, securing the best result yet for the German outfit in the history of the WRC. It was the record-breaking ninth consecutive win for Volkswagen.

Despite sometimes atrocious weather conditions, spectators watched a thrilling duel unfold between Ogier and Latvala over the 405km rally. The Frenchman claimed the first two Special Stages. Latvala fought back during the event’s longest stage, setting the fastest time and putting him and co-driver Miikka Anttila at the top of the leaderboard.

Before the first day’s rallying had finished, the first place had changed hands twice more between Latvala and Ogier. The Finn dominated on days two and three and gained the upper hand, winning eight stages compared to Ogier’s one. In so doing, Latvala closed the gap between him and Ogier in the WRC Drivers’ Championship points table to 24 points.

‘Of course I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the Rally Argentina. It’s been quite a few years since a Finn won this rally. Fighting it out with Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia was great. My co-driver Miikka Anttila contributed enormously to our success because his instructions safely guided us through some extremely difficult sections,’ said Latvala.

He continued: ‘Huge thanks go to the whole Volkswagen team too, because our Polo was always perfectly prepared and withstood the immense strain right until the end. This victory means a lot to me personally because we won this tricky rally on our own merit, which shows that we’re still a force to be reckoned with in the World Championship.’

Ogier’s second place means he still leads the overall championship. Extra points are awarded in the final Power Stage for the best three pairings in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship. Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia finished 10.5 seconds ahead of Ford Fiesta driver Mikko Hirvonen on the ‘El Condor’ stage, and a tenth of a second ahead of Latvala. Four of the six extra points went to the Wolfsburg-based team as a result.

Sébastien Ogier commented: ‘The conditions at this Rally Argentina were the most difficult ones I’ve experienced for a long time. The road conditions were incredibly tough on the drivers and the cars, so I’m very happy with second place. I’d like to congratulate Jari-Matti, who put in a strong performance and deserved to win. I’m actually pleased that people are realising it’s not as easy to win as it might sometimes look.’

Mikkelsen’s fourth place meanwhile, contributed to his third place in the Drivers’ Championship points table. Doggedly working his way up the leaderboard with co-driver Mikko Markkula, the pair suffered an alternator failure due to a loose belt on day one. A five-minute time penalty resulted in a seventh place finish, somewhat lower than the duo were expecting.

However, on day two, they overtook three of their rivals by setting the best time on one stage and claiming two other top three times. This halved the gap to second place to less than two minutes.The pair then secured fourth place overall with good results on the two classic stages ‘Mina Clavero’ and ‘El Condor’, finishing just 23.6 seconds shy of a podium place.

‘I’ve never been so delighted to finish fourth. After we failed to finish the last stage on Friday because of a technical glitch and were hit with a five-minute penalty as a result, we tried to make the best of things. We simply couldn’t have done any more and I’m really pleased with our performance. After gaining fourth place even quicker than we’d hoped on Saturday, we were a bit more cautious on Sunday. Nevertheless, we managed to make good a lot of time and shorten our gap to third place. All in all, we’re very satisfied,’ said a very pleased Mikkelsen.

The next round of the championship is Rally Italy in Sardinia on 5-8 June, where Volkswagen will go 97 points ahead of second-placed Citroën.



1 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikko Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: 4h 41m 24.8s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingassia (F/F), Volkswagen: + 1m 29s

3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën: + 5m 54.7s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN), Volkswagen: + 6m 18.3s
5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai: + 8m 25.8s



1 Sébastien Ogier, 112

2 Jari-Matti Latvala, 88

3 Andreas Mikkelsen, 48

4 Mads Østberg, 48
5 Mikko Hirvonen, 40



1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 187

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 90

3 M-Sport, 68

4 Hyundai Motorsport, 55

5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 52

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07 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Potent in Portugal – Ogier and Volkswagen claim third 2014 WRC win

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Portugal: Ogier/Ingrassia

Rally Portugal from 3-6 April, the toughest event so far of the 2014 World Rally Championship season, saw Volkswagen emerge victorious for the third time this year. World Champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia fought hard to take their third podium, scoring the Volkswagen Polo R WRC’s record eighth consecutive event victory – the longest winning run in WRC history.

Ogier and Ingrassia’s team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila finished 14th after a major crash rendered the Finnish duo’s Polo R WRC undrivable on day two of the event. A super-human overnight effort by the crew’s mechanics saw the car restart the next day under Rally 2 regulations, looking as a good as new. Challenging for the lead from second place on the Friday saw Latvala make a minor mistake, which then flipped and rolled the #2 315bhp Polo.

But, picking up four valuable points for the Manufacturers’ Championship proved the efforts were worthwhile. Latvala and Anttila then went on to take two stage wins, and also finished runners-up on the Power Stage, picking up a further two bonus points.

Latvala was reflective: ‘The Rally Portugal has shown once again that it is deservedly seen as one of the most difficult rallies in the world. Our pace was very good, so we had the opportunity to finish on the podium. Unfortunately, however, an avoidable little mistake on Friday had pretty big consequences. That was very disappointing and put paid to any chances of a good result. We then altered our strategy and targeted the Power Stage.’

The final Volkswagen crew, Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula, also endured a varied event. Making their second Rally Portugal start in the Polo R WRC, the pair created a new set of pace notes. However, the heavy rain and poor visibility during the recce meant their new notes didn’t correlate with the changing conditions. Mikkelsen and Markkula decided to set about a damage limitation exercise, and not take any risks. But, a fourth place finish is still something worth savouring.

‘The Rally Portugal did not go as I had hoped, although the eventual result was not so bad. We decided to write some new pace notes. However, the heavy rain during the ‘Recce’ made visibility so poor that I could not really put any faith in them. The variable conditions at the start of the rally also made me a bit cautious. I lost a lot of time, but the last thing I wanted to do was to take too many risks. That paid off, in terms of the result at least: fourth place is the best we could really have hoped for,’ commented Mikkelsen.

For Ogier and Ingrassia, though, the Rally Portugal victory was the icing on a difficult-to-bake cake. The ingredients were all there, from an early win on the pre-rally ‘Fafe Rally Sprint’ (in front of 140,000 spectators) to the powerful Polo R WRC. But, the French pair’s 19th triumph wasn’t easy, with the lead changing and three different manufacturers on the podium during the event.

‘Four wins in five years. It is no exaggeration: the Rally Portugal is one of my very favourites! The whole week has been fantastic. First the show in front of more than 100,000 fans at the ‘Fafe Rally Sprint’, and now the icing on the cake with our title defence at the Rally Portugal on the Algarve. The encouragement and support of the fans is rather special here. We only took as many risks as needed on soft tyres on the final day. I heard that Markku Alén is the uncrowned king with five wins in Portugal. We can achieve that too next year. That is our goal,’ said a determined Ogier.

With saturated surfaces and tyre choices proving significant, Rally Portugal was demanding. But Volkswagen Motorsport came through it, extending its lead in the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships. The record-breaking Polo R WRC now stands with the Citroën DS3 WRC as the car which has achieved the most wins in one run. The record was previously held by Citroën, who scored the same feat in 2011.

The rally monster from Wolfsburg also celebrated another milestone in Portugal. Contesting its 300th special stage on Friday, just as it had on its previous anniversaries – 50, 100, 150 and 250 – the Polo R WRC celebrated its latest achievement with another stage win. Seven special stages later it had taken another milestone: the 200th stage win since making its debut in 2013.

By the end of the Rally Portugal, Volkswagen had won 204 of the 312 special stages it has contested since the start of last season – a success rate of 65 per cent. Of 850 possible top-three times, 459 have gone to the Polo R WRC. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia’s victory marked the 24th podium and 14th win in 17 rallies since 2013 for Volkswagen.

The WRC crews head next to South America for the Rally Argentina from 8-11 May.



1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 33m 20.4s
2 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Ford: + 43.2s
3 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Citroën: + 1m 12.4s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN), Volkswagen: + 4m 50.5s
5 Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (N/A), Ford: + 5m 10.2s



1 Sébastien Ogier, 91

2 Jari-Matti Latvala, 62

3 Mads Østberg, 48

4 Andreas Mikkelsen, 36
5 Mikko Hirvonen, 36



1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 144

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 75

3 M-Sport, 60

4 Hyundai Motorsport, 45

5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 40

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