10 February 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Victory! Sébastien Ogier scores maiden Polo R WRC win at Rally Sweden

Volkswagen Polo R WRC: 2013 Rally Sweden

Volkswagen Motorsport has done today what we thought it may eventually do (just not quite so soon), and taken victory at a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). In the remarkable hands Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia, the Polo R WRC crossed the finish line at the Rally Sweden in first place, beating Ogier’s one-time team-mate Sébastien Loeb by a massive 41.8-second margin. Ogier set the pace from the word go, posting the fastest times in qualifying, and remained uncatchable over the three-day event.

Overall, Ogier and Ingrassia set 11 best times from a total of 22 special stages, scoring a place in the history books in the process – Ogier’s eighth win is only the second by a central European at the Rally Sweden since 1950, with previous winners in-between being exclusively Nordic. The other non-Nordic winner? Loeb, of course, in 2004. Finn Volkswagen Motorsport pairing Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila finish 1m 30.6s behind Ogier and Ingrassia, snatching a fourth place for the second Polo R WRC. The car collected 28 top 3 results in total over the 22 stages, and the Volkswagen Motorsport team is understandably delighted with the result, which far exceeds its expectations.

Ogier and Ingrassia also won the so-called ‘Power Stage’, which makes its first appearance in 2013, and Ogier now moves ahead in the overall WRC Drivers’ Championship standings, three points ahead of Citroën driver Loeb who is not contesting a whole season. Extra World Championship points are also up for grabs for the drivers finishing first, second and third. Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director said: ‘This is a big day for Volkswagen in motorsport. To win the second round of the World Championship under our own steam is a real milestone. The Rally Sweden is one of a kind. The Polo R WRC worked perfectly in these conditions, and Sébastien Ogier took full advantage. He was in a class of his own, and Jari-Matti Latvala also performed well. Today I am very proud.’

An overjoyed Sébastien Ogier described how he felt: ‘The win is an indescribable feeling! We were screaming with joy in the car. It is simply incredible to claim the first victory for Volkswagen and the team at our second rally. This is probably the greatest moment of my career. The Polo R WRC was perfect. The guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car. So much can happen in Sweden. The conditions in the snow are so difficult – winning here, as only the second central European and ahead of the best rally driver of all time, makes me enormously proud. We had to give 100 per cent, right down to the final day, because Sébastien Loeb was going for it through to the finish. I am overjoyed.’

‘I am delighted for the entire Volkswagen team. To win a race so early in a debut season is something very special. I would have liked to finish on the podium myself. That was certainly possible here at the Rally Sweden with the Polo R WRC. However, I must still adapt my driving style a little. Huge compliments go to my team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who showed just what was possible. He was really impressive all weekend. I will do everything in my power to get on a par with him at the forthcoming rallies,’ said a still-pleased Latvala.

Our warmest congratulations go to all at Volkswagen Motorsport for its maiden Polo R WRC victory, in what was an incredibly and genuinely exciting Rally Sweden. The World Rally Championship now moves from the ice and snow of Sweden to the heat and dust of Mexico, with the Rally Mexico running from 7-10 March, centred around León.

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, RALLY SWEDEN: FINAL RESULTS
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 11m 41.9s
2 Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (F/MC), Citroën: + 41.8s
3 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford: + 1m 24.5s
4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: + 1m 30.6s
5 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: + 5m 06.4s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1 Sébastien Ogier: 46

2 Sébastien Loeb: 43
3 Mads Østberg: 24
4 Dani Sordo: 15
5 Jari-Matti Latvala: 14

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