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Volkswagen continues to dominate its home race at the Rally Germany

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By Olivier Ferret

22 August 2015 - 23:37
Volkswagen continues to dominate (...)

Another successful leg of the “Beast” – Volkswagen continued where it left off yesterday, dominating the manufacturer’s home round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and extending its lead with all three Polo R WRCs at the top of the overall standings. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) ensured they kept a clean sheet after two of the three days of the Rally Germany, 17 of 21 special stages and 307.09 of 374.43 kilometres against the clock. The Polo R WRC has won every single stage of the Rally Germany so far. The event has often thrown up all kinds of drama, particularly thanks to the iconic “Panzerplatte” stage, which featured five times on Saturday alone. However, the Volkswagen drivers and co-drivers managed to stay clear of any drama this time round. Instead, Ogier/Ingrassia extended their lead over team-mates Latvala/Anttila to 33.8 seconds, winning 13 out of the 17 stages. Mikkelsen/Fløene are third a further 1:13.7 minutes back.

A further four stages, with a total distance of 67.34 kilometres, are scheduled for the final Sunday of the Rally Germany, before the winner is crowned at the Porta Nigra in Trier. The Rally Germany is the only round of the World Rally Championship that Volkswagen has not won since joining the series with the Polo R WRC in January 2013.

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“That was the day I had the most respect for. But, I have survived ‘Panzerplatte’! In the morning, Julien and I took it a little easier, in order to confirm the pace notes. Despite this, it was a virtually perfect run. Only on the first running of the long ‘Panzerplatte’ stage was it extremely difficult without the split times, which we no longer receive in the car this year. You don’t know exactly how you are doing compared to the opposition. On the second run, this stage was really perfect. I pushed hard, especially in the final ten kilometres. It obviously looks great for Volkswagen now, but we certainly won’t be celebrating prematurely. After all, we still have a demanding day to come.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“Today, I must be happy with second place. There is no debating that. I tried to attack on ‘Panzerplatte’, but was not rewarded for my efforts. I just wasn’t quite at my best today. My team-mate Sébastien Ogier produced a very impressive display and thoroughly deserves what is now a comfortable lead. Despite this, I am not unhappy with second place at this stage. For me, tomorrow is all about maintaining my lead over my team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen and thus extending my lead over him in the overall standings.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“Our position coming into today was relatively simple: the gap to our team-mates out front was too much to really mount a serious attack. And our advantage over those behind us was large enough for us not to have to take too many risks. We also tried a different set-up of the rear differential in the afternoon, in order to give us another possible option for the Rally France, where we will be on asphalt again. It took a while to get used to the new set-up, and it gave us a bit too much understeer in order to be able to produce really good times. However, the experience we gained is worth its weight in gold. Tomorrow, like last year, is all about achieving our goal and making it onto the podium. I we manage that, we can be happy with our performance.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“We have achieved a lot at our home rally in Germany, but have not won anything yet. The team, the drivers and the co-drivers have done a flawless job so far, and everyone at Volkswagen is proud of this performance. Tomorrow it is all about converting this belief into victory. However comes out on top come the finish will, as always, have done so according to the principle ‘may the best man win’. However, as at every other rally in the World Championship, the goal is for all three Polo R WRCs to finish. If we manage that, nothing ought to stand in the way of our first victory at the Rally Germany.”

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