WRC A FULL 2016
A performance worthy of world champions: Volkswagen duo Ogier/Ingrassia defend their lead in Wales.
Closing in on the title: Ogier/Ingrassia on course in first place
Fightbacks: Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Jæger make up time and positions
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC)
RALLY GREAT BRITAIN
Wolfsburg (29 October 2016). 15 special stages, 14 top-three times – Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) defended their lead at the Rally Great Britain in style. The champions elect*, in their Volkswagen Polo R WRC, go into Sunday with a lead of 33.8 seconds over Ott Tänak/Raigo Mōlder (EST/EST, M-Sport-Ford) and just 52.08 kilometres against the clock remaining. Should they go on to win the rally, Volkswagen would be crowned champion manufacturer in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for the fourth time, regardless of the results of their team-mates and the opposition.
Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) are currently eighth after two of the three days of rallying. The Finnish pair launched a successful fightback and made up roughly a minute on their closest rivals on Saturday. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) climbed five places in the third world rally car from Wolfsburg and are now 14th overall. Both Volkswagen duos lost a lot of time in extreme conditions on Friday due to damaged drive shafts. However, they showed what they are capable of on Saturday.
The Rally Great Britain paid a competitive visit to England for the first time this millennium. 1.8 kilometres of special stage were held outside Wales, in the form of the “Cholmondeley Castle” stage, which rounded off proceedings on Saturday. The competitors had to complete 99.91 kilometres without an intermediate service or tyre change on day two of the rally – and all that in extremely inhospitable conditions, with mud, sludge and heavy fog in places.
*Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.
Quotes after day two of the Rally Great Britain
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“On the whole I am very happy with our day. It could hardly have gone better for Julien and me. We went on the attack and tried to make the most of our start position, which gives us a slight advantage here. We know that even our soft tyre compound is a little too hard for the conditions in Wales. For this reason, we wanted to open a good lead ahead of the finale on Sunday, in order to finish ahead of Ott Tänak. On the other hand, the fact that we had a harder tyre compound than our rivals meant we had absolutely no problem completing the hundred kilometres of special stage without a tyre change. Tomorrow is definitely going to be exciting, that much is certain. Ott is quick here at the rally in Wales. However, I am very determined to do my bit towards winning the Manufacturers’ title for the Volkswagen team, hopefully with a win.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“As far as the driving is concerned, today was a good day. Like yesterday, we soon got up to speed and then tried to go about making up some of the time that we lost yesterday. We obviously only had limited opportunities to make any progress in the overall standings. Despite this, we did make up over a minute on Mads Østberg and will try to take seventh place from him tomorrow and to do our bit for the team in the Manufacturers’ Championship.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Today was all about finding our rhythm again. Having driven almost the whole of Friday with just rear-wheel drive, we first had to get used to the grip you have with four-wheel drive again. We managed to do that, and set some good stage times here and there. We had to change our driving style a little again in the afternoon – that is a feature of the Rally Great Britain, as the routes become more slippery in the afternoon and you have to choose a different racing line. All in all, we are looking forward to tomorrow. We want to attack on the Power Stage, in order to score as many points as possible in the battle for second place in the world championship.”
Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“All in all, we are happy with day two of the Rally Great Britain. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia defended their lead and got the maximum out of themselves and the car. They take a good lead into Sunday’s final six special stages – but they have not won yet. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger bounced back from their misfortune yesterday to make up time and positions on their closest rivals. The Rally Great Britain in Wales has already shown how tough it is, and everyone in the team is wide awake and determined to do a flawless job and wrap up the title for Volkswagen tomorrow.”
And then there was …
… a very special itinerary. During the three days of the Rally Great Britain, only four services are scheduled, instead of the usual eight or nine. As such, Friday and Saturday were defined by two extraordinary marathons – man and machine had to survive a total of 278.13 kilometres against the clock without a midday service on either day.
Provisional result after day two of the Rally Great Britain
01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, 2h 43m 25.3s
02. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 33.8s
03. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 1m 34.5s
04. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 1m 47.1s
05. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën, + 2m 29.5s
06. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 3m 36.0s
07. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 4m 15.0s
08. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, + 4m 22.2s
09. Stéphane Lefebvre/Gilles de Turckheim (F/F), Citroën, + 6m 52.7s
10. Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F), Ford, + 7m 35.6s
14. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 9m 36.3s
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Photos: Hélena El Mokni / Daniel Roeseler / Kräling / Giorgi / Red Bull by Volkswagen Motorsport