WRC: Rally Monte Carlo sees Volkswagen take historic one-two-three!
Volkswagen started the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a historic success. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) claimed a one-two-three for the Polo R WRC at the most iconic rally in the world. This makes Volkswagen only the fifth manufacturer ever to have achieved this feat at the “Monte”.
“A one-two-three at the Rally Monte Carlo is a fantastic performance from the entire Volkswagen team, and I am very proud of our crew,” said Dr. 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. The entire troop worked in perfect harmony. Everyone was there for each other, everyone knew exactly what he or she had to do, and Volkswagen ultimately deserved to win. This team is now deservedly up there with the other big rally manufacturers.”
Dream debut for the second generation Polo R WRC
The 2015 Rally Monte Carlo marked the first competitive outing for the new Polo R WRC, and promptly became a success story. Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila were in the cockpit of the second generation of the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg at the “Monte”, while Mikkelsen/Fløene will remain in the successful predecessor to the new car until the Rally Portugal. The four-wheel drive powerhouse, which now generates an impressive 318 hp, made a perfect debut: the new Polo R WRC finished first and second to outdo even the first outing of the 2013 and 2014 Polo for the World Rally Championship.
Historic: Volkswagen joins elite group of rally legends
The one-two-three at the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo was Volkswagen’s 23rd victory with the Polo R WRC and the eleventh time the manufacturer has had more than one car on the podium since it joined the series in 2013. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia climbed onto the top step of the podium for the 25th time at the Rally Monte Carlo, and for the second year in a row at the “Monte”. This sees Ogier pull level with rally legend Colin McRae in the all-time list of WRC wins. First, second and third at the 2015 “Monte” was also a historic one-two-three at the iconic rally – and only the sixth ever. Volkswagen became only the fifth manufacturer since 1973 to record a “triple” in the “Monte” history books, and thus joins the ranks of such legendary rally manufacturers as Renault-Alpine, Lancia, Audi and Citroën.
Typical “Monte” – Tyre gambles and diverse conditions
Dry asphalt with – by “Monte” standards – plenty of grip, black ice, snow and slush: the teams at the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo were faced with all of the above. And the conditions changed constantly from one kilometre to the next, making tyre selection particularly tricky. Each crew had to select 30 Michelin competition tyres from the 82 at their disposal – eight hard, 16 soft, 24 soft, ten winter tyres and 24 studded tyres.
Quotes after day four of the Rally Monte Carlo
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“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.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“We couldn’t have wished for a better start. Our aim right from the word go was to finish in the top four, and we did better than that. I’m delighted. It’s a weight off my mind since my previous starts at the Rally Monte Carlo hadn’t exactly been successful. The conditions weren’t easy and you had to compromise on speed to avoid making mistakes. After we had built up a good lead early on, it was all about getting the overall result, and no longer about setting the fastest times. The one-two-three is the best reward for the whole team, who put so much effort and passion into developing the new Polo.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“That was obviously an outstanding start to the new season for the whole team. You don’t celebrate a one-two-three at the ‘Monte’ every day. I’m proud to have played a part. But I’m also delighted that my own season has started so well. Before we set off I would have taken any spot in the top five. Third place exceeds all my expectations. We’ll celebrate this podium result properly, that much is certain. The conditions at this ‘Monte’ were extremely difficult and it was the first time that I have started here when there has been snow, ice and slippery asphalt. Right from the start my focus was on finishing safely – and it paid off. I learned so much and ended up with a lot. Quite simply, it was a dream start.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“What a fantastic result for Volkswagen, but particularly for our drivers. No rally is more demanding than the ‘Monte’. The human factor makes much more of a difference here than at any of the other rallies. I’m particularly proud of Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen for giving Volkswagen the perfect start to the season by finishing first, second and third. There was no shortage of rivals, or difficult conditions that needed a cool head. I’m just as proud of the whole team, who worked together perfectly to send the Polo R WRC back onto the special stages in perfect condition every day, as I am of the drivers and co-drivers.”