05 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier is Race of Champions king, as Polo R WRC completes first gravel tests

New Volkswagen World Rally Championship (WRC) signing Sébastien Ogier was victorious at the annual motorsport event, the Race of Champions. Staged in the ESPRIT Arena in Düsseldorf on 3-4 December, the 27 year-old Frenchman beat eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen who had beaten Michael Schumacher in the semi-final. Ogier signed for Volkswagen Motorsport on 23 November, also demonstrated his driving skills in the Polo R WRC, his first public outing with the 300bhp four-wheel drive rally car.

Ogier was fastest overall in a field which included Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, as well as DTM Champions Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekström. Among the Volkswagen Group race cars used for the Race of Champions were the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, Audi R8 LMS and the Škoda Fabia S2000. An Up VIP race was even staged to support the main event, and highlighted Volkswagen’s new compact car.

Commenting on his Race of Champions victory, Ogier said: ‘My first outing in Volkswagen overalls, this in Germany and victory in the Race of Champions – I’m absolutely delighted. They were exciting races against fantastic opponents. It’s not easy for a newcomer to master the different cars and track, but I had a good feeling from the word go. It was a great honour for me to be invited for the first time to participate in the Race of Champions. My thanks also go to the fans that made the atmosphere electric.’

Even Kristensen admitted afterwards: ‘Sébastien really impressed me and he certainly has a big future ahead of him in rallying with Volkswagen.’ Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen said: ‘The entire Volkswagen Motorsport team is proud of our new Champion and is delighted with Sébastien for this magnificent win. It’s obviously fantastic that he has won the first prestigious title for Volkswagen only two weeks after his signing, and against a line-up of such high quality.’

Pictures also appeared at the weekend of the Polo R WRC in gravel specification, with its raised ride height, testing in France with Ogier and Juho Hänninen, Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion and 2011 Super 2000 World Rally Championship champion. Rumours are also abound once more that the Polo R WRC could spawn a road car, while Volkswagen have not responded to any stories.

[Images: Volkswagen Motorsport / Auto Bild]

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