29 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Olé! Ogier takes victory and 2014 WRC Drivers’ Championship title at Rally Spain

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Spain: Ogier/Ingrassia

After his disappointing 13th place at Rally France, Sébastien Ogier was once again celebrating at Rally Spain. Taking a double win, the Frenchman celebrated both event and Drivers’ Championship victories with his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.

Once again, the duo clinched the series win before the end of the season, just as in 2013. The defending champions have driven to 7 victories in the 2014 season, with one round – November’s Wales Rally GB – still to go.

It’s a successful story all round, as Volkswagen Motorsport can celebrate its three drivers – Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen are team-mates to Ogier – being the top three drivers in the championship, too.

The 383km Rally Spain (24-26 October) was the eleventh 2014 win for Volkswagen Motorsport and the 23rd of Ogier and Ingrassia’s career. The pair are the only the fourth duo since 1977 to have defended their title successfully and are the eighth twosome to become double world rally champions.

Ogier was more than a little ecstatic: ‘It’s a fantastic feeling to become world champion for a second time! I’m over the moon, it was a real battle to defend the title. In particular, my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala showed an incredibly strong performance in the last few months.

‘Big thanks to our fantastic team at Volkswagen. Not just for giving us a fantastic car throughout the season. But also for the unique solidarity that we have.

‘It doesn’t matter whether things are going well or badly – the team stands by every driver crew and that is extremely motivating. I’m happy and proud to be part of this team.’

It wasn’t all plain-sailing for the Frenchmen, though, with Latvala pushing hard through the gravel and asphalt stages around Barcelona.

Keeping up the pressure until the finish line, Finn Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila knew that if Ogier and Ingrassia came home ahead of them the title would be decided.

In a repeat of other rallies this season, an exciting duel between the two Volkswagen drivers was a highlight of Rally Spain. Latvala and Anttila lots 36.6 seconds on the gravel surfaces on day one, but reduced the gap considerably to only 11.3 seconds by the time the cars were resplendent on the podium on day three.

Latvala graciously admitted defeat: ‘Congrats to Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. They showed a strong performance here in Spain and deserve to be world champions.

‘Miikka and I tried to keep the fight for the title open for as long as possible. Unfortunately we lost too much time on gravel on Friday for us to be able to make up the deficit on asphalt.’

Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene finished the Spanish event in fourth place, but their 42-point lead over Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen means that they cannot be assailed. The young Norwegian has really showed his mettle this year, and, seemingly, the no 9 Polo R WRC is often the Volkswagen most photographed!

Mikkelsen reflected on his performance: ‘First I’d like to congratulate my team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia on winning the title. They prevailed despite Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila not making it easy for them.

‘Hats off to them for that performance too. With regard to my own rally, I intended to do more than finish seventh. However, I’m happy with the result. A flat tyre on Saturday cost me more than two minutes on Saturday. If that hadn’t happened I might have made it onto the podium.

‘It was unlucky. Then all that was left was for me to fight Thierry Neuville for sixth place. In the end we lost that battle because we were too late starting the final stage and received a ten second time penalty. But at least we got a point in the power stage.’

Director of Volkswagen Motorsport Jost Capito once again had nothing but praise for his team. ‘A worthy winner of a fantastic battle throughout the season. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are deserved old and new World Rally Champions*.

‘They withstood the pressure from Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila perfectly, managed their advantage cleverly, and emerged victorious from this battle.

‘All three drivers showed an outstanding performance, unfortunately Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene were a bit unlucky on Saturday and lost more than two minutes through no fault of their own.

‘With eleven victories in one season, Volkswagen has set a new record. That’s thanks to the whole team, on site, in Hannover and in Wolfsburg.’

With the latest victory, Volkswagen has already achieved the highest winning ratio in WRC history during one season. Eleven rally wins out of 13 events in one season mean a rate of 84.61 per cent, bettering previous holder Citroën’s winning tally.

Volkswagen Motorsport has also won 327 out of a total of 463 rallies. It was also the 21st rally victory in 25 WRC appearances and the 39th and 40th podium spots.

Rally Spain was also memorable because the mixed gravel and asphalt conditions see, in effect, two different rally cars used. The Salou service park became a hive of activity between surfaces, with the Polo R WRC and its rivals transformed from an elevated gravel-spec car to a ground-hugging tarmac one. In less than 75 minutes.

The final round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship is Wales Rally GB, which takes place in Wales, Great Britain from 13-16 November.

2014 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

RALLY SPAIN FINAL RESULTS


1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 46m 44.6s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: +11.3s
3 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Ford: + 1m 42.2s
4 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Citroën: + 2m 13.3s
5 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (E/E), Hyundai: + 2m 22.2s

2014 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier, 242

2 Jari-Matti Latvala, 211

3 Andreas Mikkelsen, 150
4 Mikko Hirvonen, 108

5 Mads Østberg, 92


2014 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 416

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 187

3 M-Sport, 180

4 Hyundai Motorsport, 175

5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 133

*subject to official confirmation from the FIA

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