WRC: Volkswagen Warms Up Nicely During Rally Spain Shakedown

  • Three-time world champions* Ogier/Ingrassia fastest Volkswagen driver
  • Second, sixth and seventh for the Polo R WRC in “Free Practice”
  • Opening special stage against wonderful backdrop in Barcelona on Thursday evening

Wolfsburg. Warm-up done, bring on the Rally Spain: Volkswagen opened its campaign at the penultimate race of this season’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in good form. Three-time world champions* Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) were the fastest pair in a Polo R WRC in “Free Practice”, clocking the second-fastest time overall. Their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) were sixth fastest, while Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) ended the Shakedown ahead of the Rally Spain in seventh place. However, the 2.97-kilometre circuit near the Service Park in Salou was not particularly representative of the kind of challenges the teams will face over the course of the rally. The variation between Friday’s gravel stages and the asphalt stages on Saturday and Sunday make the Rally Spain a unique event on the WRC calendar. As well as the drivers having to adapt their driving style from gravel to asphalt mode, the mechanics have just 75 minutes on Friday evening to basically convert a rally car to a racing car.

Before then, the Rally Spain opens with a spectacular special stage in Barcelona on Thursday evening. The capital of Catalonia hosts the dramatic first act – the 3.2-kilometre stage at the foot of Montjuïc – from 18:08 local time.

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.

Quotes after the Shakedown at the Rally Spain

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The Rally Spain is one of my favourite rallies on the calendar – not only because Julien and I have won here on the last two occasions. Switching from gravel to asphalt at the end of the long opening day makes this round of the WRC particularly challenging. As a driver, you have to adapt very quickly from a softer gravel set-up to a far firmer asphalt set-up, with which the car reacts far more directly and generates a log more grip. As such, the Shakedown is not so meaningful here, because we will be underway with a completely different car as of Saturday. We are well prepared and the Polo is running perfectly – bring it on.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“It is important to find the right set-up for asphalt and gravel at this rally, with its changes in surface. All in all, the Polo felt good. It was not particularly easy this morning, as parts of the route were really slippery. As such, I tended to hold back a bit. But I am happy – the Shakedown went to plan. I am now looking forward to the rally.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The main goal here in Spain is to secure third place in the championship. I would love to be able to drive without any tactical necessities at the Rally Great Britain in three weeks’ time. However, depending on the situation, I could go on the attack here in Spain. I have not yet written off second place in the World Championship. Today’s Shakedown was a nice warm-up, which passed without any problems for us. As far as the characteristics of the route are concerned, this was not particularly representative of what we can expect over the coming days. Whatever happens, we are well prepared.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Rally Spain is a little bit special. Only here do you get this switch from gravel to asphalt. Today’s Shakedown was also a mixture of these two surfaces – although it was not a typical Rally Spain stage. It served more as a final performance test for the cars today, as well as a warm-up for the drivers, to ensure they are in rally mode in time for tonight’s opening stage. We are happy. All the systems are running perfectly and the entire team is ready for the Rally Spain. After tasting success in 2013 and 2014, we want to show what we are capable of again. I think we are in for an exciting Rally Spain.”

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC),
Rally Spain – TV broadcast
Western Europe
Andorra (Canal +); Austria (ORF, Servus TV, Sport1, N-TV, LAOLA1.tv); Belgium (Canal +, RTBF); Denmark (Viasat); Europe (MOTORS TV); Finland (YLE, Nelonen); France (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21); Germany (Sport1, N-TV, Servus TV, LAOLA1.tv, Sky); Greece (OTE); Italy (RAI, Fox Sports, Dinamica); Ireland (BT Sport); Lichtenstein (N-TV, Sport1, Servus TV); Luxembourg (Canal +, N-TV, Servus TV, Sport1); Israel (Charlton); Monaco (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21); Netherlands (RTL7); Norway (VIASAT); Portugal (Sport TV, RTP); Slovakia (Sport 5); Spain (Canal +, TVE, TV3); Sweden (SVT); Switzerland (Canal +, N-TV, Sport1, Servus TV); Turkey (NTV); UK (BT Sport, itv4); Wales (S4C)
Eastern Europe
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan (Auto Plus); Bosnia and Herzigovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia (Arena TV); Czech Republic (Czech TV, Sport 5); Hungary (Sport1); Lithuania (Auto Plus, BTV, LNK); Poland (TVP); Romania (Dolce Sport); Ukraine (First Automotive Channel, Auto Plus)
Middle East and Africa
Angola, Cap Verde, Mozambique (Canal +, Sport TV, SuperSport); Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe (Canal +, SuperSport); Ethopia, Mauritania, Seychelles (Canal +); Lesotho, Liberia, Mayotte, Reunion, Socotra, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, St Helena & Ascension, Sudan, Swaziland (SuperSport)
Asia Pacific
Australia (Fox Sports); American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Islands, Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, Micronesia, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Norther Marianas, Palau, U.S. Virgin Islands, Wake Islands (MAV TV); China (PPTV); Indonesia (MNC); Japan (J Sports); Malaysia (Astro); New Zealand (Sky Sports, TV 3); Thailand (Truevision)
North and Latin America
Argentina, Uruguay (Channel 12, Fox Sports); Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago (MAV TV); Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Venezuela (Fox Sports); Mexico (Fox Sports, TV4); Paraguay (Fox Sports, Telefuturo), USA (MAV TV, Fox Sports)