Ogier/Ingrassia secure a win in two out of three special stagesTeam-based battle for the lead: closest rivals are Mikkelsen/FløeneSix out of a possible nine top-three times for the Polo R WRC
France–Norway 2:1. The Volkswagen duo Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) have taken the lead in Rally Poland ahead of their teammates Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N). At the end of three out of 24 special stages and 34.28 out of 335.10 timed kilometres in the seventh event of the current FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), the Polo R WRC with start number 1 is ahead of its sister vehicle, number 9. Two stage fastest times and a lead of just 2.8 seconds enabled the defending champions and current WRC leaders Ogier/Ingrassia to only just maintain the upper hand over Mikkelsen/Fløene, who were temporarily ahead of their French teammates and led the rally for a time. With around a tenth of the full distance now completed, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) in the third Polo R WRC are ranked eighth overall. With these performances, the Volkswagen drivers cancelled out the disadvantage of being the first to hit the course today. The key to this success proved to be accurate pace notes – the teams needed to have a lot of confidence in their roadbooks on the ultra quick and smooth-flowing tracks through the Polish region of Warmia-Masuria.
Quotes day 1, Rally Poland
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1“I really put the pedal to the metal right from the start today. I had a good pace and I had a lot of confidence in my pace notes. On tracks like the ones here in particular, that can make a big difference, because the stages here around Mikołajki are incredibly fast. I really pushed myself and am now in the lead, in spite of my starting position. Overall, Julien and I have got off to a great start in Rally Poland. Let’s hope things continue like that.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2“Obviously, I’m not happy with today’s result, but there’s still a lot of the rally left to go and nothing has been decided yet. I simply lacked the confidence to really attack today – and I’m not all that happy with my car’s set-up. So we will be working on that tonight during the service. And tomorrow’s another day.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9“I had a great start to Rally Poland, but it was anything but easy. I must have made a mistake in my pace notes during the first stage and slammed on the brakes in the middle of a straight. I could also have been a bit faster in the second stage, and I was initially taking the crests very carefully. But on the whole I’m very happy with my driving style and I hit a clean line today.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director“The start of Rally Poland was anything but easy. The special stages are mostly uninterrupted and fast, with a lot of hill crests. At the speed the teams are going, it’s not only easy to make a mistake – that mistake can also mean everything’s over for them very quickly. Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen demonstrated why having confidence in your own pace notes is absolutely essential in these conditions, and more than offset the disadvantage they were at by having to hit the tracks early. Our current double lead is precarious, and there are a lot of kilometres still to drive before we get to the finishing line on Sunday. So we need to really stay on our toes.”