As the 2015
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season started with the legendary Monte
Carlo Rally, Volkswagen annihilated the competition to create history by
locking out all three steps of the podium. The 2014 champion duo of Sebastian Ogier/
Julien Ingrassia took another victory ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila
and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene who locked out the final two spots on the
podium. This makes Volkswagen only the fifth manufacturer ever to have achieved
this feat at the “Monte”.
at the Rally Monte Carlo is a fantastic performance from the entire Volkswagen
team, and I am very proud of our crew,” said Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen
Board Member for Technical Development.
“To start the season in this manner with a new car, and in such
difficult conditions, far exceeds our expectations,” he added.
and Latvala/Anttila were in the cockpit of the second generation of the VW Polo
R WRC car, while Mikkelsen/Fløene will remain in the successful predecessor to
the new car until the Rally Portugal. The four-wheel drive Polo R WRC now generates 318bhp,
made a dream debut out doing even its own benchmarks from 2013 and 2014
lockout by Volkswagen in Monte Carlo is the eleventh time the manufacturer has
had more than one car on the podium since it joined the series in 2013 which is
only the sixth ever done by any manufacturer at the “Monte”. Since 1973, Volkswagen
became only the fifth manufacturer to record a one, two, three finish and thus
joins the ranks of such legendary rally manufacturers as Renault-Alpine,
Lancia, Audi and Citroën. It’s also the 25th time Ogier/Ingrassia
stood at the top step of the podium at the Monte Carlo rally and 2nd
time in a row in 2014 and 2015. This puts Ogier level with WRC legend Colin
McRae in the all-time list of WRC wins.
Snow, Slush and plenty of grip from sort of wet/dry asphalt with constant
changes in conditions at every kilometre made tyre selection immensely tricky.
This was a nightmare for the teams but was brilliant to watch both “Sebs”
battle it out between each other for at least the first two days. Sébastien
Ogier in the Polo R WRC and out of retirement Sébastien Loeb in a Citroën were
embroiled in a thrilling battle for the lead. Ogier had moved into an
eight-second lead at the halfway point of the rally when Loeb, making his WRC
comeback, lost a huge amount of time and dropped well down the overall
Second and third
places for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene
respectively were their best results to date at the Rally Monte Carlo.
Latvala/Anttila moved into second place on the seventh special stage, and held
onto the runner-up spot right through to the end of a rally held in typically
difficult conditions of the stage. Mikkelsen/Fløene also climbed into third
place on the very same stage. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila also clocked
the third fastest time on the closing Power Stage.
Ogier expressed his emotions after the race as he said; “What a fantastic start
to the new season! I'm over the moon.
Getting a win at the Rally Monte Carlo is special for any driver, but
words can't describe what a win here means to me – this is my home. Friends, family and fans give me so much
support and self-confidence here. The
atmosphere was magical. I'm grateful that I can give something back with my
joy. This 83rd staging of the 'Monte' is
one of the most difficult rallies I can remember, as far as the conditions are
concerned. Selecting the tyres was
particularly difficult at the start.
Then there was the exciting battle with Sébastien Loeb, who was
producing spectacular times on Thursday.
Big thanks go to our team and my ice spies. It goes without saying that I am also
delighted with the great overall result for Volkswagen; as long as I'm at the
top, Jari-Matti and Andreas are my favourite people to share the podium with.”
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