Volkswagen, It would be awesome to win in Sweden for a third time

Statements from the Volkswagen team.Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1“That’s rallying! We skidded into a snow wall twelve kilometres into the first special stage of the day. It was a slow corner, which is perhaps why I lost my concentration a little. I missed the entry to the corner and next thing we knew we were stuck. A stupid mistake, but these things happen. Thank you to all the fans who helped us out. We obviously have nothing to lose now. The conditions are not easy, but we will do our best to still pick up valuable points towards the World Championship. The realistic goal for Julien and me is now sixth place. However, I hope for the sake of our team that Andreas and Jari-Matti top the standings come the end of the rally.”Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2“It is obviously a great feeling to lead the Rally Sweden. At the same time, we still have a lot of work ahead of us: Saturday is the longest day, and it will be all about looking after the studded tyres as well as possible, right up until the finish ramp in Karlstad. The spikes break very quickly on gravel, and you lose an awful lot of grip then. We will continue our battle with Andreas Mikkelsen tomorrow. It would be awesome to win the Rally Sweden for a third time.”Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9“A fantastic day for us, and I am very happy with the way the Rally Sweden is panning out for me. I am yet to stand on the podium in the World Rally Championship, and that is exactly where I would dearly love to end this rally. However, I am a born-and-bred rally driver, and victory is within my grasp. I tried to keep up the pressure on my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, but without taking too many risks. That was a real balancing act, which we pulled off really well.”

Volkswagen Motorsport has retained the lead of Rally Sweden but last night it is Jari-Matti Latvala who takes the top spot in the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen is however hot on his heels in second, a mere 3.6 seconds adrift in the sister Polo R WRC. Mads Ostberg, driving a Citroën DS3 WRC, holds third with one day remaining.Today’s route took in two identical loops of four stages, all in Sweden, before returning to Karlstad for the final run around the popular super special stage. Reigning World Champion Sébastien Ogier started the day in control of the field, the Frenchman with 5.8 seconds in hand to Mikkelsen. However, in the opening stage he went off the road in a slow corner and got stuck in a snow bank losing him four and a half minutes and 20 positions. He has nevertheless powered back up the leaderboard into ninth position this evening with a string of fastest times.Latvala, at the head of the field, has run without problems but has been under intense pressure from Mikkelsen. The battling team-mates are neck and neck and, despite Mikkelsen having an excursion into a ditch this morning, the fight for victory tomorrow afternoon looks set to rage on. Mads Ostberg has climbed from sixth to third this evening with a trouble-free day and he overnights with 19.7 seconds in hand to fourth-placed Mikko Hirvonen. Tanak, in fifth, has made a few minor mistakes today but the Estonian remains in a close battle with Hirvonen, just six seconds separating them. Kris Meeke – in his first snow rally – is sixth and WRC returnee Henning Solberg has climbed into seventh. Sweden’s only world rally car driver, Pontus Tidemand, is chasing hard and the reigning FIA Junior WRC Champion is just 1.4 seconds further adrift. Elfyn Evans rounds off the top 10, sitting just 3.4 seconds behind Ogier. The disappointing retirements of the day included the Hyundai i20s of Thierry Neuville and Juho Hänninen, the former with suspension damage and latter taking a wheel off. Robert Kubica has also plummeted down the leaderboard after getting stuck in a snow bank.Rally Sweden – Unofficial Results after Day 21. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila2. Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula3. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson4. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen5. Ott Tanak/Raigo Molder6. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle7. Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor8. Pontus Tidemand/Ola Fløene9. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia10Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt