Mikkelsen second in Portugal, Ogier third – an important step for Volkswagen in the World Rally Championship
Wolfsburg (22 May 2016). There was excitement right down to the wire as Volkswagen took an important step towards the defence of its titles at the Rally Portugal.
- Volkswagen significantly extends lead in all WRC competitions
- Mikkelsen/Jæger clinch second place in final spurt, Ogier/Ingrassia third
- Latvala/Anttila score important points in the Manufacturers’ Championship
Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) finished runners-up for the works team from Wolfsburg, ahead of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) in third. In doing so, they claimed podium finishes number 75 and 76 in the Polo R WRC’s 44th rally. This result sees Mikkelsen/Jæger climb into second place in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship, while Ogier/Ingrassia once again extended their lead at the top of the standings. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) finished sixth in the third Polo R WRC to help Volkswagen extend its lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Victory at the Rally Portugal went to Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL, Citroën).
Ogier/Ingrassia vs. Mikkelsen/Jæger – captivating battle for second place
An all-Volkswagen duel in virtually identical conditions – Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger produced an extremely impressive display at the Rally Portugal. After a controlled start, they increased the pressure from the halfway point of the rally. From fourth place they leapfrogged ahead of Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E, Hyundai) into third and set about gradually eating into Ogier/Ingrassia’s lead of 20 seconds. They moved ahead of Ogier/Ingrassia on the Sunday’s opening stage, as the world champions struggled with a puncture, before coming home 4.8 seconds ahead of the French duo.
Passionate fans drive Volkswagen to top performances
Roughly 100,000 fans on the iconic Fafe stage, and thousands more along the entire rally route – the Rally Portugal was once again enough to give anyone goosebumps. The three Volkswagen duos were spurred into outstanding performances by the Portuguese crowds, who are always both passionate and fair. Volkswagen reached another milestone at the Rally Portugal: on the 803rd special stage since 2013 with the Polo R WRC, the three Volkswagen duos finished first, second and third for the 102nd time. This also marked the 562nd stage win for the Wolfsburg-based car maker – that is 70 percent of all the stages the successful World Rally Car has contested. Volkswagen won every stage from Saturday lunchtime onwards in Portugal.
Remarkable effort from Latvala/Anttila helps extend world championship lead
Despite suffering a set-back, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila produced a fighting display for the Volkswagen team and played a major role in helping extend the lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship. The Finnish duo hit a hole in the road on Friday’s extremely demanding fifth stage, “Ponte de Lima”, resulting in a loss of power steering and a direct time loss of 45.6 seconds. What followed was a true feat of strength, which allowed Latvala/Anttila to end the day in the top ten. The pair fought their way back to sixth place overall on Saturday. Volkswagen, with the team consisting of Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila, extended its lead over Hyundai in the Manufacturers’ Championship by 13 points to 49.
The first WRC event on European gravel proved to be a test for man and machine in equal measures – and the Rally Portugal lived up to its reputation as being particularly tough on the cars. With a loose layer of gravel covering the stages on the first loop, and sharp stones on the second, the drivers really had to be on the ball at all times – and they once again proved to be up to the task.
The Power Stage remains Volkswagen territory – bonus points for Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen
A one-two-three on the Power Stage – Volkswagen picked up a full haul of bonus points towards the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ World Championship at the Rally Portugal. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia set the fastest time to score three extra points, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila earned two for finishing second on the Power Stage, and Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger one for the third-fastest time. This was the 35th Power Stage victory for Volkswagen with the Polo R WRC in 43 attempts, and the 74th, 75th and 76th time that one of the works duos from Wolfsburg had scored bonus points. The Volkswagen drivers have amassed 171 extra points since 2013. After five of this season’s 14 WRC rallies, Ogier/Ingrassia top the Drivers’ Championship with 114 points, 47 points clear of Mikkelsen/Jæger in second place. Latvala/Anttila have 37 points to their name.
Portuguese president visits the Volkswagen team
The Volkswagen team enjoyed a special highlight on Saturday evening, when Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa not only met the Volkswagen drivers and co-drivers, but also shook hands with the Portuguese members of the team. President de Sousa was welcomed by Dr. Herbert Diess and Jost Capito.
Quotes after day three of the Rally Portugal