Volkswagen one-two to end an era – Mikkelsen and Ogier make WRC history in Australia

Volkswagen one-two to end an era – Mikkelsen and Ogier make WRC history in Australia

Zondag 20 november 2016  

  •  Volkswagen bids farewell to the World Rally Championship as champions with win number 43
  •  A force down under: Mikkelsen claims third WRC win after battle with Ogier

Wolfsburg (20 November 2016). The story of Volkswagen in the WRC ended with an
exclamation mark: Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) gave the most successful car in the
history of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) a worthy send-off with another win at the
Rally Australia. Victory in the Polo R WRC’s 52nd rally was both spectacular and hard-fought –
and featured a close battle with Volkswagen team-mates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia
(F/F), who celebrated four titles in the Driver’s and Co-Drivers’ Championship with the world
rally car from Wolfsburg. The French pair also won the Manufacturers’ Championship four
times with fellow Volkswagen duo Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). The final
hurrah down under developed into a real thriller, in which Mikkelsen/Jæger held his nerve to
come out on top thanks to a magnificent performance. After four years at the top of the
pinnacle of rallying, Volkswagen bids farewell to the most prestigious automobile world
championship outside Formula 1 with an impressive record.

The best rally car ever made – the Polo R WRC

958 special stages, 640 stage wins. 52 rallies, 87 podium finishes, including 43 victories. 51
Power Stages, bonus points on 92 occasions. As far as the success rate is concerned, the
Volkswagen Polo R WRC is by far the most successful WRC car ever. Between the moment
that Jari-Matti Latvala set off on the world rally car from Wolfsburg’s first special stage – at
09:07 on 16 January 2013 – and Andreas Mikkelsen crossing the finish line for the final time
in the Polo R WRC at 13:47 and 51 seconds local time, the Volkswagen drivers have
completed 48,723.52 kilometres of special stage. That is almost exactly three times the
distance between Ikarusallee 7a in Hannover and the Volkswagen service area in Coffs
Harbour. There is a strong team behind this success: as well as the team at the rallies and the
200 employees in Hannover, the technical development department in Wolfsburg and the
partners of Volkswagen Motorsport have also contributed to the historic success.

Milestone, not melancholy: hard-earned victory for Mikkelsen after battle with Ogier

Extreme dust, the task of sweeping clear a thick layer of loose gravel, and the intelligent
management of the race tyres – the crews at the 2016 Rally Australia faced a wide range of
challenges. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger led the field of world rally cars for 94.1 per cent
of the 283.36 kilometres against the clock. Their duel with four-time world champions*
Ogier/Ingrassia was one of the finest seen in rallying in recent years. What made it all the more remarkable was the fact that neither of the two Volkswagen duos had favourable
starting positions.

One goal achieved, one narrowly missed – Mikkelsen/Jæger finish third in the world
championship

Victory in the final rally of the year saw Mikkelsen/Jæger do all they could to finish second in
the World Rally Championship. However, their rivals for the runner-up spot, Thierry
Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai), were in no mood to give up second place. The
Belgians claimed the third spot on the podium behind Mikkelsen/Jæger and Ogier/Ingrassia.
Mikkelsen/Jæger did finish third in the Manufacturers’ Championship – as the best one-car
team in the World Rally Championship.

Latvala/Anttila in the points at the final round of the season

Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) in the third Polo R WRC were denied a happy
ending at the final rally of the year. They damaged their suspension when they brushed a
barrier on a bridge at the very start of the rally. Despite losing over seven minutes, last year’s
runners-up in the World Rally Championship fought their way back into the points and ended
the Rally Australia in ninth place.

Icing on the cake in a Volkswagen domain: Ogier wins the Power Stage

Volkswagen once again dominated the Power Stage, on which bonus points are awarded to
the top three drivers and co-drivers. The stage win in Australia went to a Volkswagen duo –
Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia – for the 39th time. In total, extra points have gone to
Wolfsburg on 92 occasions. For Ogier/Ingrassia, this was the 33rd Power Stage win of their
career.

Quotes after day three of the Rally Australia

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“I was a bit wide exiting a left-hander at the end of the ‘Wedding Bells’ stage, and spun. In
the huge dust cloud, it took me a few moments to work out where the road was. We lost
almost 20 seconds as a result. However, I have no regrets. Julien and I were really going for it
all weekend, and had had a great battle with Andreas up to that point. He deserved the win.
The most important thing is that our fantastic team bids farewell to the World Rally
Championship with a victory. This is a very emotional moment for me. I have so much to
thank the team for. Volkswagen Motorsport has been like a family to Julien and me. I have
made a lot of friends and will never forget the wonderful moments we have had together over the past few years. A fantastic journey is coming to an end, and I am proud to have been
a part of it.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“I enjoyed the final few kilometres in the Polo R WRC on today’s Power Stage. We had some
good special stages today and yesterday, and made good progress through the field. We can
be happy with our performance over the past few days. Unfortunately, we made light contact
with a wall on a bridge on the opening stage, and destroyed the rear suspension in the
process. We lost a lot of time as a result, and had no chance of challenging for either the
podium or the win. I would have liked to have done that – primarily to give our team a fitting
leaving present. Our team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier claimed a deserved
one-two. Congratulations to them both. We will celebrate as a team again this evening,
before our time together in the World Rally Championship comes to an end. It is sure to be
very emotional.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“What a fantastic weekend, and what a wonderful result at the end of our season. Today has
been a very special day, as it was our last appearance as a team. I was so desperate to win
this rally for Volkswagen. It is fantastic to have achieved that. Volkswagen is the team that
gave me the opportunity to step up into the top class of the WRC. They put a lot of faith in
me and made so much possible for me. They will always have a special place in my heart.
Everything came together at the final rally. Everything, absolutely everything, worked
perfectly – it was simply the optimum of what we have achieved together in four years in the
World Rally Championship. On the one hand, it is a bit of a shame that we just missed out on
second place in the championship. On the other hand, that is not so important. If I had been
given the choice of winning our final rally together or finishing runner-up in the world
championship, I would always have chosen the win.”

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“Today is a very successful day for Volkswagen on the one hand, and an emotional goodbye
to the world rally championship on the other. To bid farewell with a one-two is simply
fantastic. Despite the difficult situation, the entire team gave their all and was thoroughly
professional right down to the final metre. I am incredibly proud of our performance here at
the Rally Australia – and over the past few years. I would like to thank everyone in Hannover,
Wolfsburg and at the rallies, as well as our partners, who have all contributed to our success.
We have achieved a lot and head into our future in motorsport full of confidence.”

And then there was ...

... Julien Ingrassia’s selfie marathon. As Volkswagen’s WRC programme drew to a close, the
four-time world champion co-driver set about taking a selfie of himself and every single
member of the team at the rally, as a lasting reminder of the four years together.

And then there was also …

... one driver who had been a part of Volkswagen’s WRC project from the word go: Andreas
Mikkelsen. His first start for the team came in Finland in 2011 when, as a young driver
looking to stake his claim for a works seat, he took part in the first test for Volkswagen
Motorsport in a car from group brand Škoda.

*subject to confirmation from the FIA.


FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia – Final Results*

01. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, 2h 46m 05.7s
02. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, + 14.9s
03. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 1m 12.6s
04. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 1m 26.7s
05. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 1m 28.3s
06. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 1m 41.5s
07. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 3m 04.3s
08. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN), Škoda, + 7m 32.3s
09. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, + 7m 56.9s
10. Lorenzo Bertelli/Simone Scattolin (I/I), Ford, + 8m 00.1s
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia – Power Stage Results
01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 3m 36.8s
02. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai + 1.2s
03. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai + 2.7s

 

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Overall Standings*
Drivers’ Championship

1. Sébastien Ogier, 268 points; 2. Thierry Neuville, 160; 3. Andreas Mikkelsen, 154; 4. Hayden
Paddon, 138; 5. Dani Sordo, 130; 6. Jari-Matti Latvala, 112; 7. Mads Østberg, 102; 8. Ott
Tänak, 88; 9. Kris Meeke, 64; 10. Craig Breen, 36

Co-drivers’ Championship

1. Julien Ingrassia, 268 points; 2. Nicolas Gilsoul, 160; 3. Anders Jæger, 154; 4. John Kennard,
138; 5. Marc Martí, 130; 6. Miikka Anttila, 112; 7. Ola Fløene, 102; 8. Raigo Mõlder, 88; 9. Paul
Nagle, 64; 10. Scott Martin, 36
Manufacturers’ Championship
1. Volkswagen Motorsport, 377 points; 2. Hyundai Motorsport, 312; 3. Volkswagen
Motorsport II, 163; 4. M-Sport, 162; 5. Hyundai Motorsport N, 146; 6. DMACK, 98; 7. Jipocar
Czech National Team, 18; 8. Yazeed Racing, 4

* Provisional.

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