Volkswagen takes positive stock at halfway point
Ice dancing “Monte” style
Impressive outing at the classic: Volkswagen once again made a good impression on day two of the Rally Monte Carlo. With the Polo R WRC making its competitive debut, Volkswagen duo Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (F/F) added a second stage win and currently lie second overall after just over half the distance. Ogier and Ingrassia had previously won the very first stage of this year’s “Monte” on Wednesday. Having overcome extremely challenging conditions, with snow, ice and strong winds dominating the second leg of the rally, their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) are sixth at the end of day two. In total, Volkswagen picked up five top-three results over the course of Thursday’s six special stages.
Tyre selection plays a major role at the Rally Monte Carlo. The extremely icy conditions at the 2013 event are making spiked tyres a hot commodity: no more than 20 are available for each car. As such, the teams are constantly faced with a strategic issue: how best to use the spikes. The question that just keeps on raising its ugly head is: when is the right time to use used material and when should they switch to new rubber? The closing stages of the “Monte” – including Saturday night’s classic on the Col de Turini – will reveal who played their cards right and used their tyres correctly.
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The ‘Monte’ is our first rally with the Polo R WRC, and it is fantastic to see how well the team is already working with the car, and how smooth the processes have been from the word go during our services. This is just as important as the stage times themselves. We are obviously pleased that the cars have had absolutely no problems so far, and that the drivers have largely been returning to the service area with nothing more than a few scratches on their cars, despite the difficult conditions. All in all, the performance of the team at the halfway point has been absolutely excellent. What makes it all the nicer is that Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala have repeatedly been able to reward the good preparation and the great work put in by the mechanics at the rally in the form of top times. The guys have earned it.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“I tried a softer car set-up on the first three special stages of the day. Unfortunately that resulted in some edgy and inaccurate handling. On top of that, we picked up a puncture on the very first stage this morning after hitting a stone that we were unable to avoid at a very narrow point on the route. In doing so I stalled the engine briefly. That explains the lost time. After that we found a better rhythm. I have had an idea how we can adapt the set-up to better suit my driving style tomorrow.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“Today’s conditions on the ‘Monte’ were even more difficult than yesterday. The fact that once again won the first stage of the day in so much wind, ice and drifting snow was another welcome surprise. Although we took a cautious approach, we still had a spin in a left-hander on the second stage of the day. Despite that, the rally has been perfect for us so far. It will be even more perfect when we reach the finish on Saturday evening. Until then I will be concentrating solely on myself. Nobody should place too much value in the fact that we were in the top group again today: only when we get to the Rally Portugal will we be able to make reliable statements about how competitive we really are with the Polo R WRC.”
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