06 May 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Rally Argentina – Volkswagen retains its 2013 World Rally Championship lead

2013 Volkswagen Polo WRC: Rally Argentina, Latvala/Antilla

Volkswagen Motorsport has been in celebratory mood once more, after another successful round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. Rally Argentina saw the Hanover-based outfit take two podium places, extending its lead in the drivers’ championship, and retaining its top spot in the manufacturers’ standings. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took second place behind record-breaking world champion and Citroën driver Sébastien Loeb, claiming their fifth podium place in this season’s WRC after their fifth outing with the Polo R WRC. After starting the final day in Argentina in fourth position, Jari-Matti Latvala/and co-driver Miikka Anttila fought their way into third place and their second podium finish of 2013.

With their double victory in the final Power Stage, the two Volkswagen drivers also secured five extra points in the drivers’ competition. One third into the season, Ogier and Ingrassia are now 54 points clear at the top of the drivers’ leader board, while Volkswagen is now 14 points ahead of Citroën in the manufacturers’ championship. Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula in the third Polo R WRC finished Rally Argentina in eighth place under Rally 2 regulations, achieving impressive top times in their second event with the car.

The two Sébs battled it out during the whole event, with Ogier leading early on with five best stage times, but a mistake on the seventh special stage saw the Frenchman skid off the course, costing him 40 seconds. It was then a case of maintaining his lead in the Power Stage, where the best three teams are awarded extra championship points. He finished second behind team-mate Latvala. The Finn meanwhile had an untouchable last day on the event. Taking all five best stage times, he relegated Evgeny Novikov to fourth place.

‘Today was the best day’s rallying since I joined Volkswagen. The team spirit, the car – everything reached a whole new level today, including the driver. I’m absolutely thrilled to be standing on the podium for the first time. Especially in the final phase, we gave our all to secure third place. All in all, finishing second and third is a great result for the whole team,’ an ecstatic Latvala enthused.

Ogier was pleased, too, despite losing to Loeb: ‘Second place is a brilliant result in terms of the world championship and our success was down to the whole team. I need to say a special thank you to my crew – they were a great support. It’s a shame that I couldn’t keep fighting it out against Sébastien Loeb right to the end. We’ve got a test to do before the next rally in Greece. We’ll make further improvements to the Polo R WRC then so that we can fight for first place in four weeks’ time.’

Andreas Mikkelsen was happy, too: ‘We really enjoyed the day and the whole rally. Everything is moving in the right direction – our new system for the pace notes, our changes to the set-up and the results of the special stages. We’re learning more with every metre we cover, and I feel really at home in the Polo R WRC.’ The next round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship is in Greece, the Rally Acropolis, running from 31 May-2 June.

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, RALLY ARGENTINA: FINAL RESULTS
1 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (F/MC), Citroën: 4h 35m 56.7s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: +55.0s

3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen + 2m 00.8s

4 Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (RUS/A), Ford + 2m 36.7s

5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Klinger (B/F), Ford + 4m 40.5s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier: 122
2 Sébastien Loeb: 68

3 Mikko Hirvonen: 57
4 Jari-Matti Latvala: 49

5 Mads Østberg: 38

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,
MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport: 154
2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT: 140

3 Qatar M-Sport WRT: 73
4 Qater WRT: 46

5 Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT: 29


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