Super, Seb! Volkswagen wins at home event in the WRC
Wolfsburg (21 August 2016). Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) are back on the winning track – and it is asphalted: victory at the Rally Germany went to Volkswagen for the second year in a row. As they did last year, Ogier/Ingrassia won round nine of this season’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the Polo R WRC, making full use of the slight advantage that came with opening the route on the first all-asphalt race of the year.
Extremely difficult conditions, ranging from dry asphalt to wet concrete, made tyre selection a real challenge all weekend. Ogier/Ingrassia produced a display worthy of world champions to extend their lead in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship by 14 points to 59. Their closest rival, Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) just failed to take second place in a thrilling finale and ultimately had to settle for fourth. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), in the third Polo R WRC, recovered from a damaged gearbox on Friday to score two bonus points on the closing Power Stage. They also fought back to finish eighth in the WRC class and contribute to Volkswagen taking a big step towards defending its title in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
“Winning the ADAC Rally Germany again is a great success for Volkswagen and an important step towards defending the title in the World Rally Championship,” said Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand with responsibility for “Development”, who visited the works team in Trier alongside Christian Eisenlohr, General Secretary Volkswagen Passenger Cars. “The Rally Germany once again lived up to its reputation as being particularly challenging. Our entire team did an outstanding job in front of our home fans, and I would like to thank them for that,” said Welsch.
Gripping finale for second place – Mikkelsen/Jæger narrowly beaten in fourth place
Thrilling down to the finish: Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) once again found themselves embroiled in a gripping three-way battle for second place on the final day at the Rally Germany. In light of the looming rain, they opted for three soft and three hard Michelin competition tyres for the showdown on the closing three special stages. And thereby for one more replacement tyre than their rivals at Hyundai – but with the option of having more wet tyres in the damp conditions. The rain never came, but Mikkelsen/Jæger tried everything to seize second place, however, they were forced to pay the price of the extra weight of around 20 kilograms and overheating brakes: Fourth place, despite an immensely strong performance on all rally days.
The duo in second place in the championship staged a gripping duel with their Volkswagen team-mates Ogier/Ingrassia for the lead on Friday and Saturday, which went in favour of the three-time World Champion on the legendary “Panzerplatte”.
Fantastic atmosphere at the first asphalt event of the year
Thousands of fans at the "Panzerplatte" and along the special stages in the vineyards: The first asphalt event of the year presented not only a great driving and technical challenge, but also a mesmerising atmosphere. The WRC completed three days of classified stages around Trier, and there were completely different characteristics of asphalt stages on three occasions. The preliminary decision in favour of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia came on the "Panzerplatte", which with wide sections of track on concrete, bordered by the menhirs, characterised the rally Saturday. On the narrow asphalt routes through the vineyards, a gripping duel for the lead developed between Mikkelsen/Jæger and Ogier/Ingrassia on Friday. The stages "Drohntal" and "Sauertal", which were held as a Power Stage for the first time, hosted spectacular rally action with a mix of fast sections and serpentines in the vineyards on Sunday.
WRC lead extended: Ogier/Ingrassia 59 points ahead of Mikkelsen/Jæger
An important step in the world championship for Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ standings, and for Volkswagen in the manufacturers’ standings: With the fifth win of the season for the brand, the third for Ogier/Ingrassia, the team came a little closer to defending the titles in all three standings. Ogier/Ingrassia now have 169 points to their name, 59 more than Mikkelsen/Jæger in second place in the overall standings. Latvala/Anttila are in fifth place with a deficit of 80 points. In the manufacturers’ standings, Volkswagen defended a lead of 55 points.
This means that Ogier and Ingrassia could successfully defend their titles in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ standings already if they were to win the next event, the Rally France on Corsica.
Power Stage: Two bonus points for Latvala, one for Ogier
The Rally Germany came to a conciliatory end for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. They were forced to retire their Polo R WRC with gearbox damage after just a few kilometres on Friday, but came back strongly under Rally 2 regulations on Saturday and Sunday and secured themselves two bonus points for the second-fastest time on the Power Stage. The final point on the Power Stage only just went to Ogier/Ingrassia, who beat Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E, Hyundai) by one thousandth of a second. That corresponds to three centimetres.