25 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Super Sardinia – Ogier and Volkswagen back on top at Rally Italy

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

Volkswagen Motorsport and Sébastien Ogier proved an unbeatable combination once again, as the team and driver took victory at Rally Italy last weekend. Ogier, along with co-driver Julien Ingrassia now dominate the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship drivers’ leaderboard 64 points ahead of their in-house rivals Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, while Volkswagen Motorsport sits atop the manufacturers’ standings. Ogier and Ingrassia triumphed in Sardinia over Ford driver Thierry Neuville, while Volkswagen Motorsport team-mates Latvala and Anttila took the final spot on the podium. Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula meanwhile, retired from the action early, due to suspension damage.

Ogier and Ingrassia set seven fastest times out of 16 special stages, with Latvala and Anttila taking a further six. Ogier dominated the field from day one, and kept up his pace – but at the same time being easy on his tyres – resulting in his fourth win of the season. ‘It feels fantastic to be back on top of the podium again! I’m delighted – the team did a fantastic job and the Polo ran like a dream all weekend. We now have a very comfortable lead in the Drivers’ Championship rankings. The rally was incredibly demanding physically, due to the high temperatures. On the second day in particular, you came close to your limits and you easily lost three to four litres of fluid. My tyre-friendly driving style was no doubt one of the reasons for my victory. I was especially pleased to once again win the Power Stage. I had a tough fight on my hands with Thierry Neuville, who was incredibly fast,’ said an ecstatic Ogier.

Latvala and Anttila’s third place was even more sweet, as the pair had dropped back to 12th place due to a flat tyre during the first stage. ‘Third place is a fantastic result overall – but we could have done better. The flat tyre in the first stage was nobody’s fault but our own – we should have been more observant during the recce and should have had that spot of the track in our pace notes. Losing two minutes as a result was disappointing. But on the other hand, it also gave us the opportunity to attack without any pressure and to challenge our competitors. Our speed was very good, and that’s what allowed us to grapple our way back up from 12th to third place. The team played a big part in that. I really felt at home in the Polo R WRC and will tackle my home rally in Finland filled with confidence,’ Latvala enthused.

On the third from last stage of the rally, Mikkelsen and Markkula were instructed by the team to take all available risks in order to secure fourth place overall, but a slip-up cost them the place. Veering off the track on a slow corner, caused only light damage to the suspension, but it was enough to put the duo out of the event. ‘I’m extremely disappointed, of course, because we got off to a very good start and I think we put in a good performance. That is, until today. In the afternoon session, I had already made good eight seconds on Dani Sordo in the first of the four remaining stages. I only needed around twelve more seconds to pass him, so we went for broke in the following stage. But I braked too late on a slow corner and we slid and hit a tree stump, which tore off our tie rod. So that was the end,’ said Mikkelsen.

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, was pleased with his team’s results: ‘What more could we ask for? Rally Italy was a resounding success for Volkswagen and marks another milestone in our first season in the World Rally Championship. If somebody had said ahead of the season that we would be leading in all three championship categories and that we would win five out of the seven events in the first half of the season, we most certainly wouldn’t have believed them. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala delivered nothing but top performances here in Italy. The same goes for Andreas Mikkelsen too, even though he had to retire. I am proud of all three drivers. They have really earned their summer break. All the same, we are already looking forward to the next rally in Finland at the end of July.’

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, ITALY: FINAL RESULTS

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julian Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 22m 57.9s
2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: + 1m 16.8s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: + 1m 48.0s
4 Daniel Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën: + 3m 19.2s
5 Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst (CZ/CZ), Ford: + 8m 34.1s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier: 154

2 Jari-Matti Latvala: 90

3 Thierry Neuville: 70

4 Sébastien Loeb: 68

5 Mikko Hirvonen: 61

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport: 220

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT: 174

3 – Qater WRT: 89
3 – Qatar M-Sport WRT: 89

5 Jipocar Czech National Team: 39

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