16 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier scores hat-trick and eighth season win at 2015 Rally Great Britain

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Great Britain: Ogier/Ingrassia

Sébastien Ogier rewrote his Rally Great Britain story at the 2015 event, taking victory once more and completing his hat-trick at the traditional last round of the World Rally Championship. Conquering some of the most challenging conditions the event has ever seen with heavy rain and gale force winds, the Frenchman dedicated his win to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks which occurred on the evening of the first day.

Ogier sets the pace
Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia set the pace from the start on their way to their eighth win of the season. The three-time world champions powered through the mud, water splashes and pine-lined forests of the 19 Welsh stages and 309.87km, and fought off an early threat from team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. It was left to British driver Kris Meeke to subsequently try to hunt Ogier down.

The Frenchmen kept Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle 13.5 seconds behind at the end of day one, and kept up the speed on day two to maintain a winning run on the Welsh event, which began in 2013. On completion of the final Brenig Power Stage, the duo from France unfurled a large Tricolore flag and draped it over the bonnet of their 318bhp Polo R WRC in a mark of respect for the weekend’s tragic events in Paris.

‘Difficult weekend’
An emotional Ogier dedicated his triumph to the victims of the Paris attacks, too: “It’s been a very difficult weekend with the events elsewhere. Mentally, it wasn’t easy to continue after what happened on Friday in France, but in these situations, you have to carry on even stronger than before and remain united.


’Now is not the time to celebrate and it’s not easy for me to find the right words to say at the moment, but as a small sign of support, I want to dedicate this victory to the memory of all those who lost their lives and everybody else affected by these tragic events,’ he continued.

The world champion further described how he felt: “From a sporting point of view, this result is the icing on the cake at the end of what has been a virtually perfect season for us. This would not have been possible without the magnificent team spirit and fantastic job done by everyone in the Volkswagen team.

‘It will be very, very difficult to improve on a run of success like this next year. The opposition will not relax over the winter: our rivals are sure to push hard to close the gap. We did not have any
problems on the final day of the Rally Wales. Unlike in Spain, I decided not to take any risks
on the Power Stage this time. Given the tricky conditions today, this was the right strategy,’ he reflected.

An impressive feat
Meeke and Nagle finished second and took their third podium of the year. Ogier and Ingrassia’s team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene completed the podium. By no means an impressive feat in itself, as Mikkelsen missed the pre-event Shakedown due to medial tests in Germany and therefore had no practice on the slippery surfaces of the Welsh event. The young Norwegian has scored an impressive tally of nine top three finishes in 13 starts.

Mikkelsen was pleased with his result: ‘Naturally, finishing on the podium again is a wonderful way to end a fantastic season, which I will always remember in light of my first win at the Rally Spain. We are happy with how we achieved this top 3 result here in Great Britain. I only took one spare tyre with me on Saturday morning to put pressure on the front-runners, but suffered tyre damage and a slow puncture on the second stage. After that we made the best of the situation.’

Three bonus points
It wasn’t to be Latvala and Anttila’s weekend. Day one came to a premature end for the Finns as the pair crashed off the road and into a ditch and started the second day under Rally 2 regulations. On day two the pair were again forced to retire – this time due to a transmission problem. They rejoined the event on day three, once again under Rally 2 regulations.

Despite their difficulties, Latvala and Anttila won their 31st Power Stage, meaning they left Wales with three bonus points and secured their runners-up position in the overall drivers’ points standings. The Polo R WRC ran up stage win number 500 in Wales. After three seasons, Volkswagen Motorsport has been victorious in 504 out of 717 special stages, while Ogier and Ingrassia have claimed 400 stage wins, with 25 of those in Volkswagen colours.

Latvala came to terms with his difficulties in Wales: ‘Overall it wasn’t an easy weekend. The attacks in Paris overshadowed sporting events. Today went as I had hoped it would from the beginning. I had a good rhythm and it was a lot of fun. On top of that, I won the Power Stage, which I haven’t managed to do all that often this year.

‘However, that made it all the more frustrating that my weekend was over before it really got going. The Rally Great Britain was kind of a reflection of my 2015 season. But I’ll take the positives; I came second in the championship for the second time in a row, and got some really good results in the second half of the season. That’s a good starting point for next year. Now I will take some time off before starting to prepare intensively for the 2016 season,’ the Finn asserted.

‘A magnificent season’
Once again and for the final time in 2015, Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito praised his squad: ‘Although we are in no mood for celebration today, the rally in Wales was the icing on the cake at the end of a magnificent season. With 12 victories, three different winning Volkswagen duos, and more podium finishes than ever before, this has been our most successful year ever.

‘We are proud to have achieved that with the second generation of Polo R WRC. Not only have the drivers and co-drivers done an outstanding job this season, but also the engineers and mechanics, who have sent what is in many ways a new WRC car to the start line. We have also set new standards with the communication and marketing of our success in the World Rally Championship.’

Outlining Volkswagen Motorsport’s aims for 2016 he said: ‘We have once again improved in every department, but still see room for improvement everywhere. We have not waited until today to start preparing for the coming season in 2016. We will line up at the start of the opening stage of the ‘Monte’ in just 70 days from now. When we do, we will again start with zero points – however, we will have the confidence that comes with winning nine titles in three years.’

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

RALLY GB FINAL RESULTS


1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 03m 02.0s
2 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën: + 26.0s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), Volkswagen: + 36.2s
4 Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai: + 2m 51.3s
5 Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai: + 3m 00.5s

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier, 263
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, 183
3 Andreas Mikkelsen, 171
4 Mads Østberg, 116
5 Kris Meeke, 112

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 413
2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 230
3 Hyundai Motorsport, 224
4 M-Sport, 181
5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 131

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