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.

Fastest power stage time
Rally Poland marked Ogier and Ingrassia’s fifth 2015 FIA World Rally Championship win and the 29th of their careers. The Frenchmen also scored the fastest power stage time once again, and were awarded three bonus championship points. Mikkelsen and Fløene were third and took one point.

Ogier, once again, was ecstatic: ‘A fantastic Rally Poland! I am absolutely delighted and happy to have repeated last year’s win here. Julien and I really produced a perfect performance. The many fans and sensationally fast stages made this rally a fantastic event.’

He continued: ’The Polo worked perfectly. A big thank you to my team for that. Apart from the high temperatures, I had loads of fun in the cockpit. The win is also a huge step towards the World Championship title. We may now have a comfortable lead after the first half of the season, but there are still six rallies to come.’

As with so many rallies in 2015, it wasn’t plain sailing for the third Polo R WRC of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. In line to round out the podium during a tense battle with M-Sport’s Ott Tanak and Raigo Mölder and present a Volkswagen Motorsport lock-out, a last-minute mistake literally took the wheel’s off Latvala’s challenge.

A costly mistake
The Finn skidded off the track on the very last stage and hit a tree with the front of his Polo rally car. With help from his mechanics to repair a damaged radiator on the liaison stage ahead of the official finish in the service park, he and Anttila managed to limp home but dropped down the leaderboard to fifth. Going into the power stage which cost him a place on the winners’ rostrum, Latvala was only 1.1 seconds behind Tanak. A sad and costly mistake.

Latvia was in reflective mood: ‘I pushed to the absolute maximum as I tried desperately to make it onto the podium. Unfortunately it was not to be. The crash on the power stage meant I dropped back into fifth place.

‘Fortunately the Polo is a sturdy car and, in the end, we were grateful to our mechanics. Without their efforts, we would not have made it to the finish. Compliments to my team-mates Andreas and Sébastien. I was not able to match their pace this weekend. Next up is the Rally Finland – my personal highlight of the year,’ the Finn said.

The Poland event brought Volkswagen Motorsport’s one-two tallies in 2015 to three while the 318bhp Polo R WRC has now taken 54 podiums in the 33 rallies it has competed in. out of the 610 special stages it has been driven in, 417 have been won by the car from Wolfsburg. The next round of the 2015 WRC season is Rally Finland, from 30 July to 2 August.

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

RALLY POLAND FINAL RESULTS


1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 2h 26m 11.5s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), Volkswagen: + 11.9s
3 Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford: + 23.0s
4 Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai: + 1m 14.6s
5 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: + 1m 24.7s

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier, 161
2 Andreas Mikkelsen, 83
3 Mads Østberg, 69
4 Jari-Matti Latvala, 66
5 Thierry Neuville, 58

2015 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 214
2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 123
2 Hyundai Motorsport, 123
4 M-Sport, 114
5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 49

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