Clever tyre selection and a dazzling driving display from world champions Ogier/IngrassiaAfter 150.74 of 394.21 kilometres: Latvala/Anttila second, Mikkelsen/Fløene fourthSix of ten stage wins go to the Polo R WRC in Mexico
The right tyre selection and their hearts on their sleeves: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) lead the Rally Mexico, followed by their Volkswagen team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). After 150 of almost 400 kilometres against the clock, Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) round off a virtually perfect team result with fourth place overall in the third Polo R WRC. Some clever thinking in the morning was one of the keys to success for Ogier/Ingrassia at round three of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC): they headed out on two softs and two hard Michelins in a crossover pattern – the right choice for the World Championship leaders, who had the honour of opening the route. Ogier/Ingrassia attacked ruthlessly in the morning and opened up a 16-second advantage over Latvala/Anttila. However, the pair currently ranked fourth in the World Championship did manage to claw back almost three seconds on the afternoon loop.
The battle for third place developed into an all-Norwegian duel: Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene trail their compatriot Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S, Citroën) by 15.7 seconds after ten of the rally’s 21 special stages.
Quotes after day two of the Rally Mexico
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1“A very good start to the Rally Mexico for Julien and me. Coming into the rally, I never would have thought that we would be leading this evening. This is definitely partly down to our clever tyre selection this morning. And we took a lot of risks, particularly on the 45-kilometre ‘El Chocolate’, on which we twice produced an almost perfect run. We obviously also benefitted from our rivals retiring – sometimes rather spectacularly, but thankfully nobody was seriously injured. We have put ourselves in a good position, but still have two days of tough stages ahead of us.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2“I am happy with second place at the moment, particularly when you see just how quickly it can all be over at this rally. This morning was surprisingly cold and extremely slippery on the loose gravel. My tyre selection was not ideal, and I did not cope well. The afternoon was better, although the high temperatures really put the car to the test on the long ‘El Chocolate’ stage. We won two stages and closed the gap to our team-mates Sébastien and Julien a little. Let’s see what happens now. We have some more tough stages to come.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9“I took a rather cautious approach to the special stages on the first loop this morning. I did not want to take any risks, as I do not have a great deal of experience here in Mexico. I want to build that up gradually. I was able to use that little bit more experience on the afternoon’s second loop, and moved back up towards the podium positions. The Rally Mexico is always very eventful, as today proved. As such, I don’t want to do anything silly tomorrow and will continue to play it safe. That might still pay dividends.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director“You could write a book just about the Friday at the Rally Mexico – so much happened. As in previous years, you have to do a flawless job here. And that is what our three drivers, co-drivers and the entire team did today. The performance of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia was particularly impressive: not only did they get the tyre selection right, but they turned this into the lead with a great drive. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila did not find a perfect rhythm in the morning, but fought back admirably in the afternoon. Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene paced their rally intelligently today to move into fourth place. All in all, we are extremely happy with our Rally Mexico so far.”
And then there was ...
... a work of art on a coffee cup. Your average Finn is not happy with drinking a lot of coffee all the time – they have to do it in style too. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila are always partial to a cup of the invigorating drink, particularly during the midday break on WRC days. In Mexico, they enjoyed their coffee from individually designed thermal cups. The design came courtesy of Ari Niittymäki, who is also responsible for designing the two Volkswagen works drivers’ helmets. As well as featuring the Volkswagen sign and partner logos on the front, the names Jari-Matti and Miikka have also been airbrushed onto back of the cups