Archive | WRC

06 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Third consecutive set of WRC points for Ogier and Ingrassia at Rally Argentina

2012 Rally Argentina: Ogier/Ingrassia

Once again, Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have scored points on an international rally, taking their third consecutive set at Rally Argentina on 27-29 April. Finishing seventh overall, the French pair took the S2000 class victory over their Norwegian team mates, Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene, who had to retire within sight of the finish line due to suspension damage. The 19 stages around Villa Carlos Paz near Cordoba included gravel tracks, dangerous cliffs, a number of jumps and spectacular water splashes. Stages of up to 65kms in length required hard concentration from all the participating teams as well as careful tyre choices. Volkswagen Motorsport’s all-Škoda Fabia S2000 in-house competition entertained the crowds – at one point, Ogier and Mikkelsen were just 1.5 seconds apart.

‘It was a very interesting and exciting rally for us. The inter-team duel with Andreas was the hardest up to now and we had to try everything to be quicker. It’s a shame that both the cars didn’t make the finish,’ said Ogier, who now holds 10th position in the WRC with 16 points. ‘The team richly deserves the World Championship points, since the engineers and mechanics did a flawless job throughout the four days. The tyre strategy was also crucial for our good result. We managed our tyres very well, so we were quick. Participating in the rally was very valuable for the drivers and the whole team because we have now familiarised ourselves with the long stages, know much more about the entire rally, and can now prepare meticulously for next year’s event.’

Mikkelsen was also extremely satisfied despite his retirement. ‘We put in a great performance on our first appearance here. We could run the same pace as our team mates and didn’t make any big mistakes. Even though we didn’t make it to the finish we can be very proud of our performance,’ said Mikkelsen for whom the suspension defect came as a surprise. ‘To start it felt like a flat tyre because the car didn’t turn left well. Then the suspension broke suddenly,’ said the 22-year old Škoda UK driver.

‘Our good experiences continue in Argentina: not just three victories in the Dakar Rally, but this test event in the WRC will also remain in our memories for a long time,’ explained Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. ‘It was the longest WRC rally held for years and because of its character, one of the hardest. The thrilling head-to-head duel between Ogier and Mikkelsen impressed the spectators and provided us with a great deal of data and knowledge. The team did a perfect job to match in preparing and entering the cars and also the overseas logistics. We were well-equipped and are looking forward to 2013 when we will roll across the start ramp in Argentina with the Polo R WRC.’

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02 April 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier storms to S2000 class victory
at Rally Portugal despite weather chaos

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

Fresh from the last round in Mexico, Volkswagen Motorsport driver Sébastien Ogier stormed to class victory in the latest round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Portugal. Taking the S2000 class first place with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, Ogier scored four championship points over 368km of special stages, despite turbulent weather conditions. In the overall standings, the French duo came eighth. The Frenchmen are staying in Portugal this week, testing the Polo R WRC with rally legend Carlos Sainz.

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

After the ceremonial start on Thursday, Ogier lost time on the night stages due to his Škoda Fabia S2000 developing clutch problems. Torrential rain on Friday brought a blocked stage, while stages 8 to 10 were cancelled due to fog, deep mud and flooding. Overall winner of Rally Portugal was Finn Mikko Hirvonen.

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

‘We lost a lot of time behind Craig Breen, who stopped at the end of a water passage. There were spectators on track to help him and as we didn’t want to jeopardise anyone we patiently waited. Unfortunately, we weren’t credited for this time,’ Ogier commented afterwards. ‘Considering the extreme conditions, I’m happy to have reached the finish. Without the time loss we would have clinched sixth place, which would have marked the best result of an S2000 car in WRC history,’ Ogier continued.

2012 Rally Portugal: Ogier/ingrassia

‘In view of the chaotic weather conditions and the large field with 19 WRC cars, eighth place is an optimum result. Sébastien and Julien did a perfect job. It was also good to see how calm and professional the team was in performing its work in such difficult conditions,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.

It wasn’t such good news for the Volkswagen junior driver Kevin Abbring and his co-driver Fréderic Miclotte. After an accident in qualifying on Wednesday, the roll cage in Abbring’s Škoda Fabia S2000 was so damaged the pair were unable to continue, by rule of the FIA. Next, Volkswagen Motorsport junior driver Andreas Mikkelsen will run with co-driver Ola Fløene on Rally Argentina from 27-29 April.

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12 March 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Ogier storms to eighth place Rally Mexico finish for Volkswagen Motorsport

Rally Mexico, the third round of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), saw Volkswagen Motorsport come home eighth overall, gaining valuable experience for its Polo R WRC programme. Last weekend, the all-French pairing of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia finished ahead of three more powerful WRC cars, scoring their first four championship points. The Dutch/Belgian duo of Kevin Abbring and Frédéric Miclotte weren’t quite so fortunate, retiring in the 16th special stage due to technical problems.

‘The extremely stony gravel tracks at an altitude of over 2000m make the Mexico Rally one of the most demanding rallies for “man and material”,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. ‘We’ve gathered conclusive measurements for the development of the Polo R WRC, and Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia did a very good job. It’s a shame that Kevin Abbring and Frédéric Miclotte suffered misfortune as they’d been running at a nice, fast past up to that point. The enthusiasm of the Mexican rally fans is fantastic. And it’s a fantastic feeling to note that the Volkswagen brand has many loyal fans in Mexico.’

Rally Mexico delivered spectacular rallying on 22 special stages and 380 timed kilometres around the city of Leon. Starting in the front-runners, Ogier struggled with the difficult conditions. ‘When you’re always among the first drivers to go out, there’s still a particularly large amount of gravel on the track,’ he said. ‘In addition, the power difference compared with turbo engines is even greater here at extremely high altitudes. On the whole, though, I’m pleased because I can give the Volkswagen Motorsport team its first championship points. And in 2013 we’ll be even further at the front with the new Polo R WRC.’

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07 March 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Rally Mexico promises an ‘extreme challenge’ for Volkswagen Motorsport

Two S2000 wins into the 2012 World Rally Championship, the Volkswagen Motorsport team faces an extreme challenge later this week on the Rally Mexico, which runs from 8-11 March, over 24 stages and 407km. At altitudes of 2000m, the geographically highest stages this season (2000m above sea level) will push the drivers and cars to their limits. Due to the low oxygen content of the air at these high altitudes, the engines’ outputs drop by around 20 per cent. The familiar pairing of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will be joined by Dutchman Kevin Abbring and his new co-driver Frédéric Miclotte.

‘Despite special engine tuning we’ll have less engine power in Mexico than at other rallies,’ said Sébastien Ogier. ‘As drivers, we’ve got to adjust to that. In addition, the high temperatures make it necessary for us to drink a lot so that our concentration won’t suffer during the special stages.’ Abbring meanwhile, clinched S2000 victory in his last Volkswagen Motorsport outing at Rallye Monte Carlo and is competing in the Latin American event for the first time. ‘The gravel stages are good for me, not least due to my experiences in the 2010 French Gravel Championship. I am looking forward to the 54-kilometre spectator stage through the tunnels in Guanajuato on Thursday, with thousands of spectators.’

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05 March 2012 ~ 0 Comments

All systems go as Polo R WRC completes first gravel test in Spain

2012 Volkswagen Polo R WRC gravel test, Spain

Last week Volkswagen Motorsport filled the last hole in the Polo R WRC’s rally testing programme, by testing the car in Spain on gravel. The rally challenger has now been driven on all surfaces that feature on the World Rally Championship, and the 700 kilometres driven near Almería in the south of Spain were the last pieces of the puzzle. Now using a custom-built car rather than the ‘0’ development car, the pairing of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia put the car through its paces.

‘For us, it was mainly about driving this car on as many kilometres as possible on very hard ground. In parallel, we made a few minor changes to the setup in order to pick up speed step by step,’ explained Ogier. Former World Rally champion Carlos Sainz was also on hand to give his opinion, and sat alongside Ogier, taking the wheel before the end of the test session, co-driven by by Timo Gottschalk. Covering twice the distance of a WRC round, there where no problems reported with the car.

‘Around 70% of the WRC consists of gravel tracks, about 20% of asphalt, and roughly 10% of ice and snow. The gravel test served to simulate the roughest WRC sections and to take the car to its load and stress limits. Particularly chassis components such as the hub carriers, dampers and suspension components were successfully tested in the limit range,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.‘

‘Carlos Sainz – who with two title wins and 26 rally victories is one of the most successful drivers in WRC history – and Sébastien Ogier are working together extremely well – the two are forming a very good combination. They respect each other without any rivalry and are purposefully driving the project forwards. Our next step will be to run further tests on tarmac to complete our specifications book.’

Sainz was equally enthusiastic. ‘During my active days, I drove thousands of test kilometres and hope to be able to support Volkswagen with my experience,’ said the ex-Dakar Rally driver. ‘I have a lot of confidence in the squad and the Polo R WRC will no doubt be a big hit. But we mustn’t forget that 2013 will be the Polo’s first year in WRC, whereas the competition have been active for many years.’

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