Archive | WRC

28 October 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Spanish celebrations: Mikkelsen claims maiden WRC win at Rally Spain

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Spain: Mikkelsen/Fløene

At last! Volkswagen’s rising rallying star Andreas Mikkelsen took his first FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) win at the recent Rally Spain, which took place in the Catalonia region from 22-25 October. The penultimate round of the 2015 series, the last two runnings of the event were won by Mikkelsen’s team-mate and current world rally champion Sébastien Ogier.

Seventh 2015 one-two
The young Norwegian Mikkelsen has risen through the rallying ranks and was part of Volkswagen’s S2000 programme which readied the squad for WRC glory using Skoda Fabia S2000s in the lead-up to a full world championship assault in 2013.

Mikkelsen and his co-driver Ola Fløene’s Spanish win gave Volkswagen Motorsport its seventh 2015 one-two in Spain, ahead of Finns Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. After 63 starts and 12 podium positions, Mikkelsen and Fløene finally stood on the top step on the rostrum and took their well-deserved plaudits.

Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia were forced to retire after a rare slip-up saw them hit a crash barrier on the asphalt section of the event and render their Polo R WRC undrivable due to the severity of the damage the car sustained. The result didn’t matter however: Ogier and Ingrassia have already been crowned overall 2015 world rally champions*.

Dramatic end
It was a close and dramatic end to a spectacular event, the only one on the WRC calendar to mix both gravel and asphalt surfaces. (The Volkswagen Motorsport mechanics changed over 4044 individual parts including wheels, gearbox, chassis geometry and dampers, and transformed the Polo R WRC from gravel muncher to asphalt skimmer in around 75 minutes!)

A puncture on the 12th stage brought Latvala’s duel with rally leader Ogier to a premature end, with the Finn losing almost a minute. But, through a determined drive, he bounced back into second place and into another fight, this time with Mikkelsen. A game of cat and mouse then saw Latvala suffer another puncture in stage 20, while Mikkelsen spun his car on stage 21 which cost him time.

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10 October 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Finns take Rally France: Volkswagen’s Latvala and Anttila victorious in Corsica

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally France: Latvala/Anttila

In a repeat of 2014, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila took victory at the 2015 Rally France, held on the island of Corsica from 1 to 4 October. Last year the Finnish pair and their Polo R WRC won the French event, staged in the Alsace region of the country. M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans and Daniel Barritt were second, while Volkswagen Motorsport team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene rounded out the podium.

Notable by their absence, soon-to-be-confirmed* 2015 world champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia finished the event in 15th place, after a brace of maladies affecting Polo R WRC #1. A slow puncture on day one lost the French duo 1 minute and 40 seconds and they were then handed a 10-minute penalty for changing the gearbox outside of a regular service. The pair started the Corsican event again under under Rally 2 regulations.

Adverse weather conditions
Adverse weather conditions – which included heavy rainfall and landslides – led to the cancellation of two of the nine 2015 Rally France stages. That didn’t stop Latvala, though, who, along with Anttila, are only the second Finnish crew to win an event on the Mediterranean island after Markku Alén and Ilkka Kivimäki took the spoils in 1983 and 1984.

An elated Latvala said: ‘I am struggling to put it all into words. It is a fantastic feeling to win here on Corsica. The conditions were not easy again today, as we were constantly switching between dry and damp sections. And my lead over Elfyn Evans was not exactly what you would call comfortable.

‘Despite this, I wanted to avoid taking too many risks, to extend my lead in a controlled and cool manner, and to wrap up the win. I did exactly that. I would like to dedicate my victory to my idol Henri Toivonen, who lost his life in Corsica. That is another reason why today is such a special day for me.’

A second win on asphalt
The Finns’ top podium spot marks the pair’s second win on asphalt (not a rallying Finns’ traditional winning surface), their 15th in total and eighth in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC. The win also bolsters Latvala’s second place standing in the overall drivers’ points table and makes it more difficult for third-placed Volkswagen driver Mikkelsen to gain ground on the 30 year-old.

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18 September 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen wins Rally Australia; takes WRC titles for third consecutive year*

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Australia: Volkswagen winners

In a triumphant and jubilant show of skill, Volkswagen Motorsport has once again taken the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season titles. With a one-two finish in the red dust of Rally Australia, the victorious French pairing of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia lifted the 2015 Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship crowns, while Volkswagen Motorsport took the manufacturers’ laurels, the third time in as many seasons.

Ogier and Ingrassia may have won the event and the 2015 title, but the second place of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila meant they could help the Frenchmen celebrate, too. Citroën’s Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle spoilt the all-Volkswagen Australian podium party: a slightly disappointed Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene had to ‘settle;’ for fourth place.

Formidable Frenchmen
As in 2014, Volkswagen Motorsport has secured the trio of WRC titles with more 2015 rallies still to come. Ogier and Ingrassia have proved an almost unbeatable and formidable duo this season, and so great is their advantage in the overall standings that neither they or Volkswagen Motorsport can be caught in the remaining quarter of season. In total, Volkswagen drivers have won nine out of the 10 rallies so far in 2015.

Day three of Rally Australia saw Ogier and Ingrassia lead Meeke and Nagle by just two car lengths. With the 2015 titles in their grasp, the French pair extended the gap to 32.6 seconds. Latvala and Anttila then leap-frogged the Citroën pair to fall just 12.3 seconds behind Ogier and Ingrassia at the finish line. Mikkelsen and Fløene had kept Meeke and Nagle out off the podium places on the final day, but sadly incurred a late time check arrival penalty which added 10 seconds to their result.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Norwegians, though. The duo took third-place in the final test, the Power Stage, where they joined Ogier and Ingrassia as well as Latvala and Anttila in taking additional bonus points for Volkswagen. It was the 61st, 62nd and 63rd time in 30 Power Stages that the German manufacturer had picked up extra points.

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25 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

No hiccups or Hinkelsteins: Volkswagen conquers Rally Germany with 1-2-3 result

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally Germany: Ogier/ingrassia

It’s taken three attempts, but Volkswagen Motorsport has finally conquered its home event of Rally Germany, with double World Rally Championship (WRC) winner Sébastien Ogier emerging victorious at the event set around the vineyards of the Trier region. The win means Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia could take a third drivers’ crown as soon as Rally Australia next month.

Dream homecoming
In a dream homecoming in front of 225,000 enthusiastic spectators, the Polo R WRC was also on the runners up steps of the podium. Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen finished the event second and third respectively and created a podium lock-out and clean sweep in all senses of the words.

After disappointment in 2013 and 2014, the outfit from Wolfsburg was set on victory on home soil and the first all-asphalt rally of the year. It dominated from the outset with Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila recording the fastest average speed of 115.84km/h. Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene were second and Ogier and Ingrassia were fourth.

Masterclass of driving skill
Latvala and Anttila pushed Ogier and Ingrassia hard and were always within touching distance of their leading team-mates. That was until Ogier pulled out all the stops and put on a masterclass of driving skill on the Hinkelstein-laden ‘Panzerplatte’ stage on the Baumholder military training ground. He and Ingrassia showed their world-class credentials and blasted ahead of the competition.

After Latvala and Anttila’s emotional win at Rally Finland, the Finns at least collected the top three bonus points on the Power Stage. Citröen’s Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were second, followed by Hyundai’s Dani Sordo and Marc Martí.

Ogier enjoyed an emotional victory: ‘I am absolutely delighted with this win! The fact that Julien and I are finally able to present our fantastic team with the long-awaited home win makes both of us extremely proud. Now we have finally done it, with a one-two-three. An incredibly emotional moment!

‘Everyone in the team does so much to ensure that we can challenge for victories. This win at the Rally Germany is our way of saying thank you – and it goes without saying that this success would not have been possible without that great Volkswagen team spirit.’

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14 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

The Flying Finn: Latvala takes second consecutive Rally Finland win

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Finland: Latvala/Anttila

After a disappointing 2015 World Rally Championship season so far, Volkswagen Motorsport’s Finnish drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila took the win at their home event, Rally Finland, which was staged from 30 July to 2 August.

In front of thousands of jubilant spectators, the pair finished the event at an average speed of 125.44km/h and claimed best times on half of the 20 Special Stages. Their overall lead over second-placed team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia was 13.7 seconds.

‘Kings of Speed’
Latvala and Anttila’s victory in the canopy-lined forests of Finland makes it their third. The new-found ‘Kings of Speed’, the pair have now scored fastest times on both gravel and tarmac events. The Finns moved into the lead at Rally Finland during the legendary ‘Ouninpohja’ stage and clocked Latvala’s 400th stage win of his career, as well as the fastest speed of 132.18 km/h.

Taking second place in the final ‘Myhinpää’ power stage, Latvala and Anttila scored another two points towards their Drivers’ Championship standings. Ogier and Ingrassia were victorious, however, and took the full three points. It was the French duo’s 23rd power stage success and the 26th for Volkswagen Motorsport.

Celebratory mood
‘I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am,’ said a Latvala, in celebratory mood. ‘This win means all the more to me after all the ups and downs this season. My motivation coming into this rally and my desire to win were immense.

‘After all the ups and downs I’ve been through this season, this victory means a huge amount. I would like to thank the entire team for its great work. They have always believed in me, even in times when things have not run so smoothly,’ he continued.

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