Volkswagen gets new rally season off to a successful start

Fastest time on opening stage

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By Olivier Ferret

22 January 2016 - 01:01
Volkswagen gets new rally season (...)

Successful start in tricky conditions: Volkswagen can draw many positives from the early stages of the Rally Monte Carlo. The iconic rally, which traditionally opens the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), saw three-time world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) end the first 41.63 kilometres that make up the opening two stages in second place overall, with Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) just behind them in third. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila follow in seventh place in the third Polo R WRC. The typical “Monte” mixture of surface conditions, ranging from dry asphalt to black ice, kept the drivers and co-drivers on their toes from the word go. In total darkness, the “Entrevaux–Val-de-Chalvagne–Rouaine” and “Barles–Seyne” proved as big a challenge as expected.

Quotes after day one of the Rally Monte Carlo

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“We are only at the very beginning of the rally, and still have a lot of work ahead of us. However, we can already be very satisfied with the start we have made. We still had relatively good grip on the opening stage. The second was considerably more difficult, as there was an increasing amount of snow and ice towards the end. I did not take any major risks on either of the stages.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“The conditions were tricky, so I made a conscious decision to take a cautious approach. I was not unhappy with the gap after the first stage. On stage two, I suddenly lost the car on an icy patch and hit something. I had to take my foot of the gas a little after that, as I was not sure whether it had damaged the rear suspension. That cost us a lot of time, but the main thing is that we were able to get the car back to the service park.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“I am happy with our start, although we were possibly a bit too cautious here and there. But that is typical at the ‘Monte’. I have the utmost faith in my pace notes, and that is a very good feeling. My new co-driver Anders Jæger did a great job. All in all, everything went fine for us. As such, I am looking forward to the next few days.“

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“There could hardly be a trickier start to the World Rally Championship. Plenty of grip on dry asphalt here, snow and ice there – you never know what is waiting for you at the ‘Monte’. Our three driver/co-driver pairings took the conditions into account and opted for cautious starts. So far, so good. Many more challenges typical of the ‘Monte’ await us over the coming days. After the way today panned out, I am confident.“

WRC

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