11 October 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen flys at Rally France – Ogier victorious and crowned World Champion*

2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: Rally France, Mikkelsen/Nagle

He didn’t have much to do. Volkswagen Motorsport driver Sébastien Ogier missed out on becoming the 2013 World Rally Champion* by one point at Rally Australia. So it was an easy task to score that important mark at the start of Rally France, but Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia went one better by snatching victory on the last day of the eleventh round of the 2013 WRC in Alsace. Made all the better by being the duo’s home event, Ogier was handed the baton of World Champion from outgoing champ Sébastien Loeb, the reigning master of WRC since 2004. In a bittersweet and disappointing curtain down on his WRC career, Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena crashed out during the final day of the event.

Volkswagen’s milestone victory in the FIA World Rally Championship (the first team to have won the drivers’ title in its maiden year) was sealed on the first stage of the event, the running of the Power Stage, in which bonus points are awarded to the fastest three cars. Finishing third, Ogier and Ingrassia could no longer be caught by second-placed Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul of Ford, so the celebrations began, before the first proper day of Rally France, and with two events of the 2013 season to go. With the drivers’ championship won, Ogier and Ingrassia were given free reign by Volkswagen to go out and win the rally, too.

The pair adopted a cautious approach on day one, ending the first 120.63km in fifth place. On day two, though, the pair upped the ante. The Frenchman won five of the seven special stages and were just 1.5 seconds rally leaders and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. Going into the final day, two teams from Volkswagen and two from Citroën – including the mighty Loeb and Elena – were separated by just five seconds. Ogier and Ingrassia didn’t put a tyre wrong during the final day, upping the pace yet again, and overtaking Latvala to finish first, with the Finn completing the event on the bottom step of the podium.

‘That is definitely the most amazing rally weekend of my career: first the World Championship title and now victory at my home rally – absolutely fantastic! What an extremely difficult final day. This morning was so incredibly slippery, but my gravel crew did a fantastic job. I obviously feel for Sébastien Loeb, but he was going all out to win, and that sort of thing can happen in such difficult conditions. It could have happened to anyone today. Today is the highlight of our season, and I am overjoyed. I would like to thank my guys. We have done a great job all season. I am very proud of what we have achieved,’ said an ecstatic Ogier.

‘Congratulations to Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. They were the best this weekend and fully deserved both their win and the World Championship title. They have proven this season that they are outstanding in all conditions and on all surfaces. I am very happy with third place. We produced a flawless display and were consistently quick. That gives me a lot of confidence for the forthcoming rallies. We achieved our goal of scoring important points in the manufacturers’ championship. The 2013 title is now within touching distance for the team,’ commented Latvala.

The two podium finishes garnered Volkswagen Motorsport 40 points towards the Manufacturers’ Championship, meaning it can now wrap up the title at the next event, Rally Spain on 27 October. Regardless of its opponents’ performance. The German outfit now leads the standings by 80 points thanks to Ogier’s seventh 2013 win and Latvala’s stellar performance in Alsace. Latvala’s brief was simple; to secure as many manufacturers’ championship points as possible. he and Anttila did just that, and led going into the final day of the event, despite torrential overnight rain. There was good news for the third Polo R WRC crew, too, as Andreas Mikkelsen and Paul Nagle finished inside the top 10, in seventh place.

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director was more than pleased with his team’s results: ‘The Rally France was a great success. On the one hand for rallying in general, and on the other hand for Volkswagen. It does not get any more exciting than the last four days. Ahead of the final day, any one of four drivers could have won. In the end, the new World Champions* – Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia – came out on top. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila scored valuable points towards the manufacturers’ championship. Volkswagen now has every chance of winning this title too in Spain. This weekend we claimed the title in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championships, won the rally, and took a big step forward. There will definitely be some celebrating this evening.’

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, FRANCE: FINAL RESULTS

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 2h 53m 07.6s

2 Daniel Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (E/E), Citroën: +12.2s

3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miika Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: +19.5s

4 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford: +1m 14.1s

5 Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (RUS/A), Ford: +3m 10.9s

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Sébastien Ogier, 238

2 Thierry Neuville, 143

3 Jari-Matti Latvala, 125
4 Dani Sordo, 117

5 Mikko Hirvonen, 111

2013 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 339

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 259

3 Qatar WRT, 157

4 Qatar M-Sport WRT, 156

5 Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT, 59

*Subject to confirmation by the FIA

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