Volkswagen first and third after marathon day in Wales

Ogier/Ingrassia extend their lead, Mikkelsen/Fløene comfortable thirdWelsh endurance test: 142.31 kilometres against the clock, heavy rain and gale-force windsFastest, by day or by night: 500th stage win for the Polo R WRC is the icing on the cake

Volkswagen has tightened its grip on first and third place after the second of three days at the Rally Great Britain. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) extended their lead at the 13th and final round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). With 36.43 kilometres remaining until the season draws to a close on Sunday, they lead Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL, Citroën) by 35.7 seconds. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) successfully battled their way through the longest day of the WRC year to remain on course for a podium finish in third place. The two Volkswagen duos won a further six stages, including the ninth stage of the day, which took the 318-hp World Rally Car from Wolfsburg’s tally to exactly 500 stage wins – achieved within 713 special stages of its debut at the Rally Monte Carlo in 2013.

Day two of the Rally Great Britain was characterised by stormy weather and extremely demanding conditions out on the route. Torrential rain, gale-force winds and ever-changing grip levels demanded the utmost concentration.

Day two of the rally was over sooner than planned for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) in the third Polo R WRC. Returning to action on Saturday morning, they were again forced to retire – this time due to a transmission problem. They will re-join the race again under Rally 2 regulations on Sunday.

Quotes after day two of the Rally Great Britain

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1„Today is a very sad day. Our thoughts are with the victims of the horrific attacks in Paris. Moments like this make you all too aware of just how insignificant what you are doing actually is. Despite this, Julien and I decided this morning that we would continue with the rally. We feel this is the right decision, rather than quitting – which would be giving in to the perpetrators. It was obviously very difficult to concentrate on driving today. Furthermore, the conditions were not easy out there. It was very slippery, with an awful lot of standing water at certain points on the route. I had to stop on stage eleven, as Thierry Neuville was blocking the road after his crash. However, we were credited with the 30 seconds we lost in the process.“

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2“That was a bit of a repeat of yesterday’s story, only this time it was not my fault. We were going well again, but this time we suffered a damaged power train after about ten kilometres of stage eight. That resulted in us losing a minute on that stage alone, and we had to retire shortly after. There was no point in continuing like that. I would like to thank my mechanics again for the job they have done on my Polo R WRC. Without them, I would not have been able to race at all today. The focus is now on tomorrow’s Power Stage.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9“That was not only a long day, but also a particularly tough and eventful one. However, it was also a day that we could be happy with in the end. We decided to take just one spare tyre with us in the morning. However, we then felt a big impact on a straight section in the second stage of the morning. We didn’t see it coming, or what it was – a hole or a stone. That caused us to have a flat tyre and a slow puncture. On top of that, we also had a damaged damper. All in all, that cost us a few seconds. After the midday service, we returned for the two night stages. The ever-changing grip levels meant they were far from easy during the daytime, let alone at night! We are happy to have made it through this marathon day and still to be on course for a top-three finish. To climb onto the podium tomorrow would be a fantastic way to end the season.“

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director“The second, very long day of the Rally Great Britain not only pushed the drivers and co-drivers to their limits, but also really put the entire team through its paces. Everyone in the team did an outstanding job today. This was rewarded with first place for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, as well as third place for Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene. However, we still have to convert these good positions into a meaningful result tomorrow. I am confident the team will do just that – if we continue to work so conscientiously.”