Allez les bleus!
Latvala/Anttila lead team-mates Mikkelsen/Fløene by 28 seconds going into final dayUnbeaten: Polo R WRC clocks fastest time on 14 out of 14 stagesOgier/Ingrassia fight back from 30th to 18th overall
Up, up and away: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) have opened up a clear lead at the Rally France after 240.25 of 303.63 kilometres against the clock. The Volkswagen duo, currently second in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship, extended their lead over team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) to 28.0 seconds on day two of the eleventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). It is not by chance that Latvala/Anttila find themselves in such a commanding position: they are the only duo at the Rally France, which has always finished in the top three and has consistently set a high pace. Mikkelsen/Fløene have also impressed at the second asphalt rally of the season, increasing their advantage over third-placed Kris Meeke (Citroën) to 25.7 seconds.
Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) won two special stages and climbed into 18th place overall on day two of his home event. The reigning world champion went into today’s leg over eight minutes off the lead after a faulty sensor and a time card error cost him any chance of victory yesterday.
Quotes after day two of the Rally France
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1“The Polo was perfect again today, and we had absolutely no problems. My co-driver Julien Ingrassia and I soon found a good rhythm. As such, I am very happy with our performance. It is obviously hard to motivate oneself to push for every last tenth of a second when you are so far off the lead. However, that is precisely what we will be aiming to do tomorrow when there are extra points up for grabs again on the Power Stage. There is no question about it: we want to score the maximum points possible towards the World Championship.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2“A superb day of rallying for us. My team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen certainly did not hand it to us on a plate today, and I had to drive intelligently, particularly in the morning. I attacked where I was familiar with the route from previous years, and showed the appropriate caution where it was new to me. I did not risk everything today, but the goal was to open up a bit of a cushion, so that we can afford to ease off a little tomorrow – and we did just that. I feel very comfortable in the Polo and am looking forward to the final day tomorrow.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9“That was a successful day for us. Sure, my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala did manage to extend his lead over us, but we also created a bit of breathing space ahead of Kris Meeke and third place. We pushed harder wherever I felt secure, but were also intelligent enough to set a reasonable pace on the difficult sections. We would obviously have liked to have been quicker here and there, but the risk of ruining our best WRC rally on asphalt so far was too great. We really want to bring this good result home tomorrow. There is a bit of a gap to the guys ahead and behind us – that ought to help.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director“14 special stages, and a Polo R WRC out in front on all 14 occasions – our drivers are producing an impressive and focussed display at the Rally France. Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen are incredibly strong on the asphalt roads. Both came into the rally having already proven that the Nordic drivers are well capable of winning on this surface in 2014, and they are at it again. The key now is to convert this impressive performance into a win. They are extremely well placed to do so on the final day tomorrow, and can afford to pace themselves without taking too great a risk thanks to their advantage over the rest of the field. However, there are still over 60 kilometres of special stage before they reach the finish ramp, and they are no stroll in the park – especially when there is a chance of rain adding to the challenge tomorrow. Time for another flawless display then.”