Andreas Mikkelsen won the WRC
Australia on November 20, 2016 as Volkswagen bowed out of the FIA World Rally
Championship with a 1-2 finish. He won despite a tough fight posed by his
team-mate and world champion Sébastien Ogier, who spun away his victory chances
on the dusty Bucca speed test early morning. Mikkelsen achieved his third
career win by 14.9sec over his Polo R colleague.
Mikkelsen and Ogier delivered
a perfect finale to four years of WRC domination by the German manufacturer. It
was the team’s 43rd win from 52 rallies and came after a tough battle in the
sweltering and dusty New South Wales forests near Coffs Harbour.
Mikkelsen started the day
under heavy pressure with a slim 2.0 sec advantage over Ogier. The Frenchman
reduced it to just three-tenths midway through the long Bucca stage before
spinning and allowing Mikkelsen to ease through the final three tests.
Hayden Paddon had an outside
chance of victory in third but his i20 swiped a bank and knocked the rear left
tyre off the rim. The time loss promoted Thierry Neuville onto the podium.
Victory by Andreas
Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger in the Polo R WRC’s 52nd rally was both spectacular and
hard-fought – and featured a close battle with Volkswagen team-mates Sébastien
Ogier/Julien Ingrassia , who celebrated four titles in the Driver’s and
Co-Drivers’ Championship with the world rally car from Wolfsburg. The French
pair also won the Manufacturers’ Championship four times with fellow Volkswagen
duo Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila . The final hurrah down under developed into
a real thriller, in which Mikkelsen/Jæger held his nerve to come out on top
thanks to a magnificent performance. After four years at the top of the
pinnacle of rallying, Volkswagen has now bid farewell to the most prestigious
automobile world championship outside Formula 1 with an impressive record.
The best rally car ever made –
the Polo R WRC: 958 special stages, 640 stage wins. 52 rallies, 87 podium
finishes, including 43 victories. 51 Power Stages, bonus points on 92
occasions. As far as the success rate is concerned, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC
is by far the most successful WRC car ever. Between the moment that Jari-Matti
Latvala set off on the world rally car from Wolfsburg’s first special stage –
at 09:07 on 16 January 2013 – and Andreas Mikkelsen crossing the finish line
for the final time in the Polo R WRC at 13:47 and 51 seconds local time, the
Volkswagen drivers have completed 48,723.52 kilometres of special stage. T
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC), RALLY AUSTRALIA – FINAL RESULTS
01. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders
Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, 2h 46m 05.7s
02. Sébastien Ogier/Julien
Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, + 14.9s
03. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas
Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 1m 12.6s
04. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard
(NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 1m 26.7s
05. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí
(E/E), Hyundai, + 1m 28.3s
06. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene
(N/N), Ford, + 1m 41.5s
07. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder
(EST/EST), Ford, + 3m 04.3s
08. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm
(FIN/FIN), Škoda, + 7m 32.3s
09. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka
Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, + 7m 56.9s
10. Lorenzo Bertelli/Simone
Scattolin (I/I), Ford, + 8m 00.1s
FIA World Rally Championship
(WRC), Rally Australia – Power Stage Results
01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien
Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 3m 36.8s
02. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul
(B/B), Hyundai + 1.2s
03. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí
(E/E), Hyundai + 2.7s
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Overall Standings
1. Sébastien Ogier, 268
points; 2. Thierry Neuville, 160; 3. Andreas Mikkelsen, 154; 4. Hayden Paddon,
138; 5. Dani Sordo, 130; 6. Jari-Matti Latvala, 112; 7. Mads Østberg, 102; 8.
Ott Tänak, 88; 9. Kris Meeke, 64; 10. Craig Breen, 36
1. Julien Ingrassia, 268
points; 2. Nicolas Gilsoul, 160; 3. Anders Jæger, 154; 4. John Kennard, 138; 5.
Marc Martí, 130; 6. Miikka Anttila, 112; 7. Ola Fløene, 102; 8. Raigo Mõlder,
88; 9. Paul Nagle, 64; 10. Scott Martin, 36
1. Volkswagen Motorsport, 377
points; 2. Hyundai Motorsport, 312; 3. Volkswagen Motorsport II, 163; 4.
M-Sport, 162; 5. Hyundai Motorsport N, 146; 6. DMACK, 98; 7. Jipocar Czech
National Team, 18; 8. Yazeed Racing, 4
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