WRC: Volkswagen Ready and Raring to go Ahead of the “Monte”

  • Volkswagen duos find their rhythm: Ogier second, Mikkelsen fifth, Latvala sixth
  • Making the first attempt count: route conditions deteriorate visibly
  • Stage set for the iconic Rally Monte Carlo on Thursday evening

Wolfsburg (20 January 2016). The systems fired up perfectly after the winter break: Volkswagen wasted little time finding its rhythm on the Shakedown at the Rally Monte Carlo. Three-time world champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) ended the free practice ahead of the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in second place. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) were fifth and sixth fastest. However, one should not read too much into this result: the first attempt of each of the top drivers proved to be the fastest, and the final positions were very dependent on the starting order, as the surface of the 3.35-kilometre stage to the west of the rally headquarters in Gap became visibly dirtier with every rally car that passed.

The new season officially gets underway on Thursday, when the competitors roll over the start ramp in Monaco before tackling two special stages and a total distance of 41.63 kilometres against the clock on their way back to Gap in the French Maritime Alps.

Quotes after the Shakedown at the Rally Monte Carlo

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“It is fantastic to be back in the rally Polo. And it is obviously particularly nice for me to get the first kilometres of the new season under my belt in my home city of Gap. I would like to say a special thank you to the many fans here in the service park and on the Shakedown. On the whole, the Shakedown went very well for Julien and me. The Polo feels perfect, but it is obviously difficult to make any sort of prediction. Conditions out on the route varied too much for that. I am now really looking forward to the start in Monaco tomorrow. The opening stages will then show where we stand compared to the opposition.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Shakedown went as expected. The many cars out on the route at the same time meant that conditions deteriorated quickly. The dirt on the stage meant the times were not very meaningful. I tried a few things with the set-up. That was my priority. All in all I am happy and glad that the season is about to get underway again.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“It was difficult to try anything out on the Shakedown today. As well as the World Rally Cars, the R5s were also in action at the same time. Everyone cut the corners a little, and scattered dirt on the road in the process. As such, we struggled to set a great time from our position. Nevertheless: it was the first stage under competitive conditions with my new co-driver Anders Jæger – and everything ran smoothly between us. In this respect, we have already found our rhythm.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Today’s Shakedown was not particularly significant from a sporting point of view. When it comes to getting a feel for the tricky conditions just before the start of the ‘Monte’, however, it was worth its weight in gold. We would obviously like to start the new rally year something as well as we did last season. However, our opposition is looking strong and the rally itself is a huge challenge.”