20 November 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Wales win: Ogier scores final 2014 Volkswagen victory at Wales Rally GB

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Great Britain: Ogier/Ingrassia

Volkswagen Motorsport ended its record-breaking World Rally Championship (WRC) season with a win at Wales Rally GB from 13-16 November. Once again Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia took the spoils, slipping and sliding their Polo R WRC to finish first ahead of Ford’s Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, and Citroën’s Mads Østberg and Jonas Andersson.

The #2 Polo R WRC of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila came home eighth, a good result after the pair suffered a number of setbacks in north Wales. The British event proved eventful for Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene, too. A handful of early stage wins and four second places on day two were offset by crashes on both day one and day three.

Eighth victory for Ogier
Ogier and Ingrassia’s victory was their eighth of the 2014 season, and it added to Volkswagen Motorsport’s record number of victories in one year tally – the German outfit scored a total of 12 (out of 13 events) during 2014. With the World Champion* and Manufacturers’* titles already in the bag, the pressure was off Ogier, but he still drove like it mattered.

Ogier and Ingrassia shot ahead into a commanding lead of over a minute on day one of Wales Rally GB and then paced themselves on the following two days, barely putting a foot wrong. The usual deadly mixture of fog and wet, muddy conditions were omnipresent on the 305.64 kilometres of Welsh forest gravel stages, but Ogier almost literally sailed through it all.

‘That is obviously the best way to end a season: with a win. We were under no pressure, as the World Championship was no longer at stake, and just wanted to enjoy the Rally Great Britain. We really had to go flat-out on Friday and had a close battle for the lead with my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

‘That allowed us to open up a big lead over the rest of our rivals. When Jari-Matti made a mistake on Saturday, it obviously completely changed the character of the rally for us. I just had to get the car to the finish line. However, that is anything but easy given the typical conditions here in Wales,’ enthused Ogier.

Respectable result for Latvala
Only 6.6 seconds separated Latvala from Ogier at one point during the Welsh event, but he and Anttila lost more than three minutes on Saturday morning after sliding into a ditch on the morning of day two. They were determined to get something back, though, and fought strongly on day three to score a respectable result. The Finns won four of the day’s six special stages and climbed from tenth to eighth place.

Latvala was reflective: ‘I can look back with great satisfaction on the 2014 season: I mounted my first serious challenge for the World Championship title, and kept the title race alive for a long time. I also won my first rally on asphalt, which was an important milestone for me.

‘The duel with Sébastien Ogier was extremely exciting. I will carry on where I left off next season. The Rally Great Britain did not pan out as I had hoped. My goal was definitely to go for the win here in Wales. Apart from the slip-up, our pace was good. As such, I am already looking forward to next year.’

Disappointment for Mikkelsen
Mikkelsen and Fløene’s disappointment was palpable, the young Norwegian having started his rallying career in the forests of Wales. Sandwiched between early retirements on both day one and day three, the duo’s pace on day two was proof of what may have been, with five stage wins and four second places over the nine stages.

Mikkelsen and Fløene were always one of the cars first onto the stages, which is no easy task on the Rally Great Britain. But Mikkelsen can be proud – he has made five appearances on the podium in 2014, including second places on three different surfaces: ice and snow (Sweden), gravel (Poland) and asphalt (France).

Mikkelsen was in an upbeat mood, despite his obvious disappointment: ’Unfortunately that was not the end to the season I had hoped for. I would have liked to have given the team something better than two offs. However, the conditions were particularly difficult and mistakes happen quicker at the Rally Great Britain than anywhere else. I am disappointed, but I believe we matched the pace of our team-mates and could have challenged for the win.

‘Despite this disappointment, we can still be proud of what we have achieved this season. With five podiums we have exceeded our own expectations. Third place in the Drivers’ Championship is the best result of my career. I am looking forward to a bit of a rest over the coming weeks, but also to the 2015 season. We are determined to be challenging for victories and podiums right from the word go. That is my goal.’

‘A great success’
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito praised his team for the final time in 2014: ‘Twelve wins in one season – we really can look back on a successful year. We can be proud of what we have achieved, and enjoy every moment in the World Rally Championship.

‘The Rally Great Britain has also been a great success, and Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia did everything right en route to their eighth win of the season. Respect to them. In contrast, Jari-Matti Latvala, Miikka Anttila, Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene did not end the season the way they had hoped.

‘However, they can also be proud of what they have achieved. There is no chance of us resting on our laurels. The 2015 season gets underway with the Rally Monte Carlo in just 65 days, and we want to be as well prepared as possible again. Preparations have already been in full swing for a while now.’

A fairytale season
It really has been a dream-come-true season for Volkswagen Motorsport, even more so than ist debut year in 2013. In 2014, a series of records went to the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer. The twelfth of a possible 13 wins saw Volkswagen eclipse the previous record of eleven, held by Citroën.

Volkswagen also equalled the record eight one-two finishes in a season, set by Peugeot in 2002. The Germans also wrapped up the Manufacturers’ Championship* title at the earliest point of the season for 25 years, as well as becoming only the second manufacturer in WRC history to provide all of the top three drivers in the Drivers’ World Championship*.

The Volkswagen Motorsport WRC year in numbers
In 2014, Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen added a further 197 of a possible 249 stage wins to the success story of the Polo R WRC. In total, 23 podiums went to Volkswagen over the course of the season’s 13 rallies.

Since the Polo R WRC made its World Rally Championship debut in January 2013, the 315bhp four-wheel drive powerhouse has racked up 22 victories and 41 podiums in 26 rallies. The Volkswagen drivers clocked the fastest time on 345 of the 486 special stages over the last two seasons. Impressive stuff!

The 2014 FIA World Rally Championship took the WRC teams to 13 rallies in 15 different countries. In extreme cold and hot conditions, from sea level up to altitudes of 2781 metres, the temperatures on the special stages ranged from minus 12 to plus 34 degrees Celsius.

The turbochargers in the three Polo R WRC engines completed 1.3 billion revs between the Rally Monte Carlo and the Rally Great Britain. Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen changed gears in their Polo R WRCs 73,211 times.

Using muscle power alone, the mechanics lifted a total of 265 tonnes moving approximately 1,100 tyres. The engineers evaluated about 17.9 gigabytes of data from the year’s 249 special stages – roughly the same as 3.2 million pages of pure text.

The crew members covered a total of 96,845.99 kilometres as the crow flies between the service parks and the team HQ in Hannover. The equipment for the overseas races travelled a further 46,202.62 kilometres by sea.

Over 4.2 million fans follow the works team from Wolfsburg on social networks, while 101,647 fans were delighted to get their hands on signed autographs of the Volkswagen drivers. Journalists meanwhile were supplied with information via 703 pages of press releases and 322,488 text messages.

And you know what – it will be much the same for 2015. We can’t wait! Our warmest congratulations to the drivers and crews at Volkswagen Motorsport on their 2014 success. The first round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship is Rally Monte Carlo, from 22-25 January.

2014 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

RALLY GREAT BRITAIN FINAL RESULTS

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen: 3h 03m 08.2s
2 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Ford: +37.6s
3 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Citroën: + 1m 03.6s
4 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai: + 1m 14.9s
5 Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (GB/GB), Ford: + 1m 24.3s

2014 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 Sébastien Ogier, 267

2 Jari-Matti Latvala, 218

3 Andreas Mikkelsen, 150
4 Mikko Hirvonen, 126

5 Mads Østberg, 108


2014 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP,

MANUFACTURERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 447

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 210

3 M-Sport, 208

4 Hyundai Motorsport, 187

5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 133

*subject to official confirmation from the FIA

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