Archive | WRC

04 August 2015 ~ 0 Comments

In Pole-position: Volkswagen Ogier and Mikkelsen one-two at Rally Poland

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Poland podiums

The Volkswagen Polo R WRC claimed another World Rally Championship (WRC) one-two finish at Rally Poland from 2-5 July, its 12th in 33 starts. Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen performed well on the gravel tracks in the Masurian Lake District, with Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia taking victory by 11.9 seconds.

Thrilling duel
Not for the first time, fans were treated to a thrilling duel between two Volkswagen drivers. In temperatures upwards of 30 degrees C, Ogier and Mikkelsen produced flawless drives with the young Norwegian keeping the pressure on the Frenchman right until the final power stage.

Aided by co-driver Ola Fløene, Mikkelsen put in one of his strongest performances to date. It’s been a privilege to watch the development and rise of one of WRC’s hottest young stars, and its; no wonder Volkswagen Motorsport has renewed the 26 year-old’s contract.

Mikkelsen was very pleased with his performance: ‘That was by far the best WRC rally of my career. I like the characteristics and high-speed rallies like the one here in Poland. I came close to bagging a first win, and it ultimately just came down to a few minor details.

‘I am incredibly proud of our performance here in Poland. Sure, we came close in Sweden too, but that was our home rally. To be battling for victory on a par with the world championship here is of a completely different, far higher significance. I am confident it is only a question of time before we get our first win,’ he proclaimed.

Mikkelsen posted the fastest stage time on the fastest two stages of the season so far: ‘Gorklo’ saw an average speed of 131.09kph while the Norwegian’s speed on ‘Wieliczki’ even out at 128.13kph. Ogier averaged 121.41kph across the whole event, with over 60 per cent of the rally taken at full throttle. He’s not a two-time world champion for nothing.

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19 June 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier snatches third Sardinian Volkswagen victory at 2015 Rally Italy

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Italy: Ogier/Ingrassia

Fresh from Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila’s victory and its podium lock-out at last month’s Rally Portugal, Volkswagen Motorsport headed to Sardinia for the 2015 Rally Italy with emboldened confidence.

The sixth round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Volkswagen Motorsport had nothing to prove but still wanted to win. World champion Sébastien Ogier did just that, taking victory ahead of Hyundai Motorsport’s very capable Hayden Paddon and John Kennard.

Lure of a hat-trick
The German outfit won the Sardinian-based event in both 2013 and 2014, so the lure of hat-trick was strong. The Polo R WRC crews started off the 394km event in fourth, fifth and eighth places after the preliminary shakedown run through, but soon gained ground. Sébastien Ogier and Latvala finished the first day on the dusty tracks in second and third places respectively, behind New Zealand’s Paddon.

Andreas Mikkelsen meanwhile was forced out of contention by striking a hole in the road on the ‘Grighine Nord’ stage which damaged a wheel rim and a rear shock absorber, as well as parts of the fuel system. After attempting to fix the malady at the roadside, the Norwegian and his co-driver Ola Fløene abandoned their efforts and rejoined the event under Rally 2 regulations on day two.

Gripping battle
The second day – the longest rallying day for 13 years – saw Frenchman Ogier stage a gripping battle with the plucky Haddon for first place. The young driver was finally surpassed on stage 17, with Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia over two minutes in front by the day’s end. The Polo R WRC also took its 400th WRC stage win.

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08 June 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Latvala heads Volkswagen podium
lock-out at Rally Portugal

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

Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jari-Matti Latvala finally broke his results drought at Rally Portugal (21-24 May) and won the fifth event of the season. He and his co-driver Miikka Anttila also paved the way for an historic VW one-two-three result.

Contrast in fortunes
Team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia finished second, while Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene stood on the third step of the winners’ rostrum. It was a Volkswagen Motorsport podium lock-out and a contrast in fortunes for the German team, who suffered a disastrous Rally Argentina which saw all three Polo R WRCs retire.

The Rally Portugal result marks the third time Volkswagen Motorsport has claimed all three podium positions since it started competing in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2013. The Hannover-based crews also took all the top spots in the Power Stage, and collectively became the first manufacturer to collect 122 points at one event.

First win since 2014
His Portugese victory was Latvala’s first win since 2014’s Rally France back in October. The sixteen-stage, 350km gravel event was reinvented for 2015, and took in some of the classic Portugal stages – such as ‘Fafe’ – some of which hadn’t been run since 2001.

Latvala started the event in third place at Shakedown, and led the standings by the end of day one, 11.1 seconds ahead of Citroën’s Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle. Ogier was a further 25.9 seconds down the table, while Mikkelsen was 4.9 seconds behind Meeke.

Stormed up the leaderboard
It was all change on day two, though as Ogier and Ingrassia stormed their way back up the leaderboard and completed the 165km of stages with a time 9.5 seconds behind their Finnish team-mates. Meek and Nagle were shunted down to third place, while Mikkelsen and Fløene sat in fourth.

Tyre choices proved critical and reflected the overall order of results. Latala and Ogier chose a mix of hard and soft compounds for the morning and afternoon loops, whereas Mikkelsen opted for soft Michelins for both sets of stages.

Nail-biting conclusion
Latvala led Ogier by 10.4 seconds going into the final stage, but the Finn finally took victory over the Frenchman by 8.2 seconds. The chasing Mikkelsen meanwhile was another 16.4 seconds behind. In a nail-biting conclusion, only 28.6 seconds separated the top three Volkswagen crews.

Latvala was ecstatic with his performance: ‘That was a very important win! Not just for me, but for the entire team. That was the right response to the poor result in Argentina. For me personally, it was important to get back in the points after my long lean period – and to do that with a win is awesome.

‘It was an exciting battle with Sébastien Ogier, who really put us under pressure. However, I resisted it at the crucial moment. Thank you to my team for their work and support when things were not running so smoothly lately. I am looking forward to the next rallies.’

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28 April 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Retirements force Volkswagen out of podium places at Rally Argentina

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

After seven consecutive victories and 20 podiums, Volkswagen’s luck finally ran out at Rally Argentina, which took place on 23-26 April. The fourth round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship was cruel to the team from Wolfsburg, and forced all three Polo R WRCs to retire from the event.

In a hopeful twist, world champion Sébastien Ogier managed to claw back three valuable points from a Power Stage win, but that was all the German outfit managed to achieve on the 316km event. The 2015 world champion finished 17th overall, but lead the event after the first opening stage.

On a more positive note, the Volkswagen Motorsport crews won eight of the twelve special stages, but the retirement disappointments meant that the podium was the first since Rally Australia in 2013 without a Volkswagen driver. The Argentinian result came as a setback to the German team after Ogier’s hat-trick of recent wins.

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11 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Hat-trick! Ogier celebrates third
2015 WRC victory with Rally Mexico win

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Mexico: Ogier/Ingrassia

In a familiar story and a repeat of the previous two wins from the same number of events, Volkswagen Motorsport driver pairing Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia emerged victorious at the third round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Mexico. The South American group of stages which ran from 6-9 March was the 25th time the Polo R WRC has come out on top in the 29 WRC events it has started since 2013.

‘Perfect rally’
Described as a ‘perfect rally’ for the French pairing, Rally Mexico saw Ogier and Ingrassia finish in the top three driver pairings in 20 of the 21 special stages, taking the fastest time in nine of them. Leading from 5.61km in, the double world champions set the pace and never looked back. With new rules legislating that the championship leader starts the stages first, Ogier selected hard and soft tyres, turning his ‘sweeping’ disadvantage into a positive opportunity.

From then on, the duo displayed a truly flawless example of driving and navigating on the first of six consecutive gravel rallies. Run at over 1,800 metres above sea level, the WRC cars can be affected by the air at high altitudes, but this didn’t stop Ogier and Ingrassia, who promised a blistering pace by setting the fastest time at Shakedown before the rally around the Guanajuato area of the country got properly underway.

Ogier and Ingrassia didn’t relent and collected the three bonus points for the fastest time on the final run through the ‘El Brinco’ Power Stage, known for its popular and spectacular jump. The French drivers’ team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene picked up two extra points as they tamed El Brinco and finished second.

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