05 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

A flying finish for Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport at Rally Finland

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally Finland, Ogier/Ingrassia

Despite a faltering start, Volkswagen Motorsport and Sébastien Ogier won Rally Finland, which took place from 2-4 August. It was Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia’s fifth win of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, and the first time the French pair have emerged victorious at the Finnish event. They have extended their lead at the top of the drivers’ championship leaderboard by 90 points. Luck wasn’t quite so forthcoming for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila on their home event, as their Polo R WRC suffered suspension damage on the first day. Starting day two running to Rally 2 regulations due to their retirement the day before, the pairing finished the event in 17th place. Their team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula finished tenth. The win in Jyväskylä was the sixth triumph for a Polo R WRC in eight rallies.

Qualifying started well, with Ogier and Ingrassia posting the second fastest times. The 324km-long Rally Finland opened with a three-way battle between Ogier and Ingrassia, and Ford drivers Thierry Neuville and Mads Østberg. The Frenchmen were 5.2 seconds behind Neuville, while Mikkelsen and Markkula were six places behind their team-mates. Latvala and Anttila unfortunately hit a rock at the side of the road, damaging the rear left suspension of their 315bhp Polo R WRC. Managing to limp through two stages, they had to call it day. The Volkswagen Motorsport service team worked though the night however, so the Finnish duo restarted the forest event on Friday morning under Rally 2 regulations.

Day two saw Ogier and Ingrassia take the lead, winning seven of the day’s nine special stages and leading Neuville by 38.1 seconds. Mikkelsen and Markkula were forced to retire after a duel for fifth place with Citroën’s Kris Meeke, again due to suspension damage. Latvala’s and Markkula’s Rally Finland got progressively better, though, with the no 7 Polo R WRC being one of the fastest cars on the event. The Finns finished in the top three on six of the day’s nine stages. On the final day, Ogier and Latvala scored three bonus World Championship points, courtesy of second and third positions on the Power Stage. Prior to the Rally Finland, Volkswagen had won every Power Stage held this season.

Ogier also put in good times on the incredible “Ouninpohja” stage. With jumps of up to 60 metres in length, the classic stage on the fastest rally in the WRC, Ogier clinched the first run, with a lead of 2.6 seconds, which was stretched to 4.6 seconds. The 130km/h-fast Frenchman now holds the stage record, too, with a time of 15 minutes and 8.9 seconds. Ogier and Ingrassia will now go into Volkswagen’s home event at Rally Germany (22–25 August) with a purely mathematical chance of winning both the driver and co-driver competitions: should they increase their lead over their rivals by 22 points to 112, they would be out of reach of the chasing pack and guaranteed the titles. Since its debut at the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2013, the Polo R WRC has amassed 81 out of a possible 143 stage wins.

Ogier was justifiably pleased with his result: ‘It is impossible to describe how I feel! This win here in Finland is a dream come true for me. And to win in Sweden as well this year – it is a great feeling to win these two rallies this year ahead of the Nordic guys like Mads Østberg, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala. With a lead of over 30 seconds from the first two days, I did not want to take too many risks today. Only on the “Ouninpohja” special stage did I really push myself to the limit, as that stage is simply fantastic. For me, it was the first time in a World Rally Car and the speed with the Polo R WRC left me speechless. You pulse starts to race, you are full of adrenalin, and you enjoy every jump and every metre. My lead in the World Rally Championship has increased, but I am not concentrating on that today – I just want to enjoy the win with my team now. Without our well-oiled team, I would not be on the top step.’

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, FINLAND: FINAL RESULTS

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julian Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 2h 43m 10.4s

2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: + 36.6s
3 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford: +57.6s
4 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën: +1m 21.6s

5 Daniel Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën: + 6m 06.5s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier: 181

2 Jari-Matti Latvala: 91

3 Thierry Neuville: 91

4 Mikko Hirvonen: 73

5 Daniel Sordo: 69

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,
MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport: 251

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT: 196

3 Qatar M-Sport WRT: 112
4 Qatar WRT: 107

5 Jipocar Czech National Team: 39

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