20 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Disappointing final flourish on Rally Spain ahead of 2013 Polo R WRC campaign

2012 Rally Spain: Ogier/Ingrassia

With the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship now at a close, it was a mixed last round for Volkswagen Motorsport’s pair of Škoda Fabia S2000s. Rally Spain (8-11 November) saw a retirement at the end of the first day for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, while Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Andreas Mikkelsen and his co-driver Ola Fløene finished 21st after day one’s stages due to an accident. Following the cermonial start in Barcelona, slippery conditions on gravel and tarmac made life difficult for the drivers, but both Ogier and Mikkelsen admirably closed the gap between their S2000 cars and the more powerful WRC racers.

Volkswagen Motorsport then started to run out of luck. Ogier and Ingrassia’s bonnet lifted, losing them time, and shortly afterwards Mikkelsen and Fløene were struck by Petter Solberg and Thierry Neuville, damaging their suspension. Just after the start of Special Stage 6, Ogier and Ingrassia had to retire due to a drivetrain fault, and although Mikkelsen and Fløene completed the event to Rally 2 regulations, they did gather valuable experience for 2013. Although their rally pairing ended this season, Mikkelsen hopes to be named the third Polo driver for Volkswagen Motorsport’s assault on the 2013 WRC rounds, alongside Ogier and Finn Jari-Matti Latvala.

‘At “Monte” at the beginning of the year we crashed, and now at the season finale we have had technical problems. Other than that, the season went superbly,’ said Ogier, expressing his satisfaction with his first year for Volkswagen. ‘And, honestly speaking, I’m also proud of ten class victories. Whenever we saw the finish we were the quickest S2000 car. But I’m also glad that the year of transition is over. Now I’m incredibly excited about the beginning of the hot phase with the Polo R WRC – and about being able to compete with the top-flight drivers again at Rallye Monte Carlo.’

Volkswagen Junior Andreas Mikkelsen assessed the season in a positive light as well. ‘For me, it’s been a brilliant year. Of course I’m proud to be the first driver in history to have defended my IRC title,’ says the pleased Norwegian. ‘And the year with Volkswagen was enormously important for me, too. Driving in such a large team and getting to know the processes was completely new to me. I’m happy that I received good feedback from the team and very much hope to become the third Volkswagen WRC driver next year.’

Before the start of the ‘Monte’, the Volkswagen Motorsport team will head to Mexico, France and Sweden to push the Polo R WRC still further. The 300bhp, four-wheel drive, 1.6-litre rally car will make its much-aniticipated and long-awaited competitive debut on the Rallye Monte Carlo on 15 January 2013. All eyes will, finally, be watching it.

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