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FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (WRC 2016): OGIER EXTENDS HIS LEAD AT THE RALLY MONTE-CARLO, MIKKELSEN SECOND

WRC A FULL 2016

Ogier extends his lead at the Rally Monte Carlo, Mikkelsen second.

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Extremely varied, awkward conditions at the Rally Monte Carlo
Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia lead by almost two minutes
Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger second thanks to clever tyre selection and good fortune

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
Rally Monte Carlo

23 January 2016

Wolfsburg (23 January 2016). Volkswagen one-two at the Rally Monte Carlo: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) were in a league of their own in the Polo R WRC on day two of the classic rally, extending their lead in extremely difficult and varied conditions at the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Their closest rivals are now Volkswagen team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), who climbed into second place overall courtesy of a clever tyre selection. While the longest stage of the rally, “Ladier-et-Valença–Faye”, was held on a mixture of dry and wet asphalt, the “Aspres-les-Corps–Chauffayer” was a combination of sheer ice and snow, making the task of selecting the Michelin tyres particularly difficult. Mikkelsen/Jæger were the only crew to set off on the morning loop with more spiked tyres than supersoft slicks, and consequently made up time on their direct rivals.

In contrast, the Rally Monte Carlo is already over for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). The duo came off the road on stage eleven, skidding into a ditch, out into a field. Light contact was made with a spectator in the process. The organiser has not received any information to indicate that the spectator was hurt. As soon as the team was informed about the incident, it immediately contacted Latvala and Anttila by phone. Latvala/Anttila attempted to repair the damage to the car, but were then late arriving at the checkpoint ahead of the following special stage. As such, their rally is over.

Quotes after day two of the Rally Monte Carlo

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The Rally Monte Carlo once again showed why it is the most difficult rally on the calendar today. The conditions on the stages were so varied that choosing the right tyres was something of a lottery. The majority of the 51 kilometres from Lardier-et-Valença to Faye were dry, but it was also icier than expected. The tenth stage was so incredibly snowy and icy – I felt like I was on the ‘Streif’ in Kitzbühel. All in all, I am more than happy with the way the day panned out for Julien and me. It is a shame that Kris Meeke is no longer in the rally. I would have liked to have continued the battle with him right through to the finish.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I would first like to stress that I am very sorry about what happened today. We came off the very slippery road after a right turn, skidded into a ditch and came out in a field. My visibility was hampered briefly by thick steam from the engine and mud that had sprayed up from the ditch. I saw a spectator jump to the side and drove slowly back to the road. The team contacted me after the stage and informed me that I had touched a spectator. As I said, I am very sorry about the whole incident.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“All in all, it was a good day for us. This morning, we were the only ones to opt for a completely different tyre strategy and take four spiked winter tyres with us, as well as two supersoft slicks. As a result, we lost a lot of time on the first of the two stages. However, we gained some of that back on the following stage. That is typical ‘Monte’: one stage is dry, the next has ice and snow on it. I was very cautious in the afternoon, especially on the ‘Sisteron’ stage, as I did not want to take any risks. I was possibly a little too cautious, as we lost time again there. We have another exciting battle for second place with Thierry Neuville ahead of us tomorrow. We are looking forward to that.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Today was a day with very positive aspects, but also less positive aspects. The positives include fine performances by Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen. Seb is driving in a league of his own with a huge lead. Andreas made a brave, but also intelligent, tyre selection today and was thus able to work his way up to second place. However, the less positive aspect of the day was an incident involving a spectator after Jari-Matti Latvala’s accident on stage eleven. As soon as we heard the news, we contacted the crew as quickly as possible and started to look into what might have caused the incident. We very much regret what happened.”

And then there was …

… what appears to have been a very motivational speech. The recipient on Friday evening was Anders Jæger, the new co-driver of Andreas Mikkelsen. “Look, since you have stopped working with him, Ole-Christian Veiby has won every stage,” was the cheeky remark. Jæger opted to do his talking out on the route, and his response was not long in coming: stage ten of the infamous “Monte”, the “St Léger-les-Mélèzes–La Bâtie-Neuve” stage, went to Mikkelsen/Jæger. Incidentally, no other WRC-co-driver in the current crop can claim to have won a special stage at his very first rally in the top class of the World Rally Championship.

Provisional result after day two of the Rally Monte Carlo

01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, 3h 19m 05.7s
02. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 1m 59.7s
03. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 2m 12.2s
04. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 4m 25.9s
05. Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau (F/F), Citroën, + 7m 29.4s
06. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 10m 42.3s
07. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 10m 44.5s
08. Elfyn Evans/Craig Parry (GB/GB), Ford, + 17m 14.5s
09. Armin Kremer/Pirmin Winklhofer (D/D), Škoda, + 19m 26.4s
10. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN), Škoda, + 19m 38.1s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

André Dietzel
Media Volkswagen Red Bull Motorsport
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