Volkswagen continues to lead the way in Wales

All good things come in threes

Volkswagen continues to lead the way in Wales

First, second, and fourth – the Volkswagen drivers put on another master class on day three of the Rally Great Britain. With only Sunday’s final leg to go, Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) continue to lead the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Wales, ahead of team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) produced an impressive display in the third Polo R WRC to climb from sixth to fourth. The duo matched its fellow Volkswagen pairings, who secured the Manufacturers’ Championship* for the Wolfsburg-based outfit with races to spare, in every regard. With 51.92 kilometres of special stage still to come on Sunday, they remain within striking distance of the podium.

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport

Photo by: XPB Images

Nordic by nature – the all-important longer stages on the Saturday of the rally all went to either Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen or Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland. Andreas Mikkelsen carried out the team’s instructions – to climb to fourth place by the end of the day – as early as the first stage “Gartheiniog”, clocking the fastest time to claim his first stage win of the rally. He immediately followed this success with another win on the longest special stage of the day, “Dyfi”. On only one stage did the young driver finish outside the top three. Jari-Matti Latvala also showed his class again on Saturday, winning a hat-trick of special stages from 12 through to 14 – “Gartheiniog” and “Dyfi” on the second loop and “Dyfnant”. Only the two spectator stages – the only asphalt stage of the day at “Chirk Castle”, which the cars also tackled twice – went to Volkswagen’s rivals, in the form of Dani Sordo (Citroën) and Thierry Neuville (Ford).

Quotes after day three of the Rally Great Britain

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7 “Our goal for today was to push hard again and put some pressure on Séb. Unfortunately the morning’s stages did not go quite as we had hoped. On the one hand, I was lacking a little bit of confidence to go flat out from the start and find a good rhythm. Then we had also marked too many places as slippery when we did the recce prior to the rally. As a result, I hesitated a little a few times during the first loop. Things went better for us later on, and we won three special stages. However, Séb and Julien were barely slower than us and able to maintain their lead. We only have about another 50 kilometres of special stage to go on Sunday. Barring something out of the ordinary, it will no longer be possible to make up that much ground. Despite this, I will try to keep up both my pace and the pressure.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8 “I am happy with the way we handled this long day today. It was a good clean performance without any major mistakes. Surprisingly, the grip was better on most of today’s stages than it was on Friday. For us, it was all about maintaining a steady lead over our team-mate Jari-Matti, and we did that perfectly. As such, we did not have to take too many risks and took a rather cautious approach to the many new stages. A 20-second lead is, to a certain degree, reassuring. However, we will have to stay wide awake if Jari-Matti pushes hard again tomorrow. If not, you can be out before you know it – and I definitely want to make it to the finish this time. That would be the perfect end to a perfect season.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9 “An absolutely fantastic day for us. Our times were good, and two of them were good enough for stage wins, so I am more than happy – especially as we were absolutely flawless today and came through each stage cleanly. We made up a lot of time and climbed two positions. I felt great in the Polo right from the very first minute today. However, it was not easy to judge the grip levels, as there was a real mix of particularly slippery sections and some with more grip. I think we found a good rhythm to cope with that, particularly in the morning.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director “The job of Motorsport Director was undoubtedly a dream job today. Not only do we have the top two drivers on our team in Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala, but we also have a very quick and reliable World Rally Car with the Polo R WRC. The team proved this once again, and the two Volkswagens were able to pull further clear. However, I am particularly proud of Andreas Mikkelsen today. We told him this morning that we expected him to be fourth come the end of the day. That was certainly not an easy task. However, he pushed so hard on the first special stage of the day that he climbed into fourth there and then, before proceeding to open up a gap between him and the car in fifth. You could not have asked for more from all three of the pairings today. We are looking forward to the remaining 50 kilometres tomorrow, and want to hang onto this strong team result right through to the finish.”

And then there was ...

... the racing driver’s natural enemy: ballast. Cars at the Rally Wales return to the Service Park at the end of the day carrying the odd kilogram more than when they set off. In the case of Sébastien Ogier, this was 28 kilograms of mud and debris that had attached itself to the wheel arches and undercarriage of his Polo R WRC.

Volkswagen Motorsport

shares
comments
Sordo continues fightback in Wales

Previous article

Sordo continues fightback in Wales

Next article

Neuville and Evans on the road to success

Neuville and Evans on the road to success
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
17 h
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021