09 April 2013 ~ 3 Comments

Polos on parade at Rally Portugal – three Polo R WRCs line up for the first time

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: 2013 Rally Portugal – Fafe Rally Sprint

The fourth round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship will see three Polo R WRCs take to the start line for the first time. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala are joined for the rest of season by Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Andreas Mikkelsen from Rally Portugal onwards. Along with his co-driver Mikko Markkula, Mikkselsen will contest events in the number 9 Volkswagen Motorsport car, and represent a theoretically second team – Volkswagen Motorsport II, which will allow the Norwegian/Finnish duo to have access to ten test days this year, rather than having to share this limited development time with their team-mates.

Testing has already taken place on the Algarve coast, with each crew spending two days putting the rally Polos through their paces at the end of March. The second gravel event of the year, the Rally Portugal from 11-14 April will see 386.73 kilometres driven over the course of 15 special stages. Mikkelsen has already had his first taste of WRC action in Portugal, as he took part in the Fafe Rally Sprint at the weekend, a 6.34km event in the north of the country. Finishing in fourth place, he and Markkula tailed the Citroën DS3 of Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio, at the 10,000-spectator strong event. Ogier also was due to compete at the Fafe Rally Sprint, but was forced to withdraw due to suffering from a bout of flu.

‘After three completely different rallies at the start of the season, the first “typical” WRC rally awaits us in Portugal,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. ‘Tough gravel routes, spring temperatures and – unlike at the Rally Mexico – stages at just above sea level: we will probably come across the same kind of conditions at the coming rallies in Argentina, Greece and Italy. As such, the Rally Portugal provides us with another important indicator of what the Polo R WRC is capable of. Furthermore, we will also send a third driving pair into action at every rally from now on, in the form of Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula. Andreas and Mikko have already been very successful in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and are now deservedly taking the next big step into the top flight of rallying.’

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