16 September 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Maximum attack – unstoppable Ogier wins Rally Australia

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

He’s done it again. Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia took victory at the Rally Australia over the weekend. The Frenchmen scored maximum points, won 19 Special Stages, and came within in reach of the World Championship title. The sixth rally win of the season wasn’t without incident though; two of the pair’s competitors had punctures in the last 15km of the Power Stage, preventing the duo from claiming the championship title. One point away from taking the 2013 crown, Ogier and Ingrassia head into the next round, Rally France, 83 points ahead of their nearest rival, Belgian Thierry Neuville.

Impressively, given their supersonic pace at other rounds this year, Ogier and Ingrassia put in their best performance of the season so far in Australia, with only three best Special Stage times denied them. ‘Of course I’m pleased to have won here in Australia, but it’s disappointing to be on course to win the World Championship title and then lose it in the last kilometre. Apart from that, it was a fantastic rally for us. We won 19 of the 22 Special Stages and collected three points in the Power Stage, too. The Polo R WRC worked perfectly throughout the weekend, and the VW Motorsport team did a great job,’ said an elated Ogier.

Cars and drivers faced wide-ranging conditions in the southern hemisphere, with technical and narrow winding sections marking day one, while day two’s stages passed through open countryside. Day three was made up of fast sections through the rainforest. In Polo R WRC #8, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila notched up important points for Volkswagen in the Manufacturers’ Championship by coming fourth, while Andreas Mikkelsen and replacement co-driver Paul Nagle finished sixth overall, after leading the event at the end of day one. Several small mistakes meant that the duo fell behind on day two, though, before they fought their way back in the overall standings on day three. On the final day Mikkelsen and Nagle cleverly defended their position.

‘We were aiming to collect as many points as possible for the Manufacturers’ Championship, and we succeeded. However, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as we would have liked – the car span and we had a puncture during the final stage. But all that matters ultimately is the result, and it was a good one for Volkswagen Motorsport. On another positive note, I found my Polo R WRC’s perfect set-up for fast gravel rallies in Australia, which will come in very handy for other rallies,’ enthused Latvala.

‘The Rally Australia became really dramatic in the last few kilometres. From the point of view of the Manufacturers’ Championship, everything that happened in the Power Stage was good for Volkswagen. Unfortunately, it also meant that Sébastien Ogier was unable to clinch the title early. He did a fantastic job, won more convincingly than at any other event this season, and did everything right. He would’ve deserved to go away as World Rally Champion today, but the decider will have to wait. The battle for the WRC Manufacturers’ Championship will enter its next phase in France. Thanks to Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, we’re in a better position than we were before the Rally Australia. We’re really happy – even though the icing on the cake is missing,’ explained Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, AUSTRALIA: FINAL RESULTS

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 19m 55.0s

2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: +1m 32.1s

3 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën: +2m 02.1s

4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miika Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: +2m 57.4s

5 Mäds Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford: +3m 17.2s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,


DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS



1 Sébastien Ogier, 212

2 Thierry Neuville, 129

3 Jari-Matti Latvala, 110

4 Mikko Hirvonen, 103
5 Dani Sordo, 96


2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 299

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 251
3 Qatar WRT, 145

4 Qatar M-Sport WRT, 142

5 Jipocar Czech National Team, 51

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