Monday, 21 November 2016

Rally - VW in Australia

The story of Volkswagen in the WRC ended with victory for Andreas Mikkelsen by 15 seconds over World Champ team mate Sebastien Ogier in Australia at the weekend. This was the Polo R WRC’s 52nd rally and gave the most successful car in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship a worthy send-off having claimed 4 world titles in the past 4 years.

After 958 special stages, 640 stage wins. 52 rallies, 87 podium finishes, including 43 victories the Volkswagen Polo R WRC can claim to be the most successful WRC car ever. During that time, the Volkswagen drivers have completed 48,723.52 kilometres of special stages.

Victory in the final rally of the year saw Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger do all they could to finish second in the World Rally Championship. However, their rivals for the runner-up spot, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul in the 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.

Jari-Matti Latvala was denied a happy ending at the final rally of the year having damaged his car's suspension when it brushed a barrier on a bridge at the very start of the rally.

At the rally finish Andreas Mikkelsen said: “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.”

Sébastien Ogier added: “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.”

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

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