Sebastien Ogier becomes first factory driver at Volkswagen

Sebastien Ogier becomes first factory driver at Volkswagen

Volkswagen in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)                                                    

Sébastien Ogier has been signed as the first official Volkswagen driver for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).  The 27-year-old Frenchman and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia (31) are joining the Volkswagen Motorsport squad effective immediately.  Ogier, who finished the 2011 WRC in third place, will be instrumental in helping to shape the development of the Polo R WRC for Volkswagen’s 2013 entry in the World Rally Championship.

‘Volkswagen is the number one in Europe and will soon be number one in the world,’ said an exuberant Sébastien Ogier on his arrival in Hanover. ‘I’m sure that they’re going to compete with the goal of clinching the WRC title, and I’m happy to be part of this from the outset.’  And co-driver Julien Ingrassia stresses with self-confidence: ‘We’re looking forward to a team with a fighting spirit and the determination to win.  Anything’s possible!’

‘I am very happy about Sébastian Ogier and Julien Ingrassia joining us,’ says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management for the Development Division.  ‘Both of them are important pieces of the puzzle on our way towards building a successful team in the World Rally Championship.  It is also a mark of confidence for our team if such a strong pairing opts for a new team in the WRC that is still in the process of being developed.’  Motorsport Director Kris Nissen adds:  “We are proud that such a successful and quick duo as Sébastian Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia have decided to join Volkswagen. The aim of putting a competitive Polo R WRC on the road for them as quickly as possible will additionally drive our team.  We look forward to working with them and are hoping for many victories and titles in the future.’

Also involved in the contractual negotiations was rally legend Carlos Sainz, who is instrumental in the successful implementation of the WRC 2013 project as an expert adviser to the Volkswagen team.  “For me, Sébastien is one of the world’s three best drivers,’ praises the two-time World Rally Champion (1990, 1992) and 2010 Dakar winner.  The Frenchman, who was Junior WRC Champion in 2008 and third in the 2011 WRC, is considered one of the world’s best drivers.  Many experts view the rally racer, who is also a licenced ski instructor, as the upcoming World Champion.  In the past season, he won five rallies, thus winning the same number of events as the subsequent world champion Sébastien Loeb.  In 2010, in Portugal, he mounted the top of the podium for the first time and has been successful at seven WRC rounds so far.

Ogier will perform his first run as a Volkswagen factory driver at the Race Of Champions in Düsseldorf on 3 and 4 December, being pitted against the other “Super Seb” from Formula One.

Sébastien OgierDate and place of birth: 17 December 1983 in Gap, Hautes Alpes (France)Height: 1.81 mWeight: 75 kgProfession: Ski InstructorSuccesses: 2008 Junior World Rally Champion; 2010 First victory at the Portugal Rally;45 rallies, 7 victories, 14 podium places

Julien IngrassiaDate and place of birth: 26 November 1979 in Aix-en-Provence (France)Height: 1.83 mWeight: 72 kgProfession: BusinessmanSuccesses: 2008 Junior World Rally Champion; 2010 First victory at the Portugal Rally;45 rallies, 7 victories, 14 podium places

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