The podium within sight – Latvala and Ogier shine for Volkswagen.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2016 -WRC Italy Sardegna (ITA) -  WRC 09/06/2016 to 12/06/2016 - PHOTO :  @World

Top result within touching distance: second place for Latvala/Anttila after a challenging day of rallying
A true feat of strength: Ogier/Ingrassia defend third place
Pure misfortune: damaged suspension prevents Mikkelsen/Jæger challenging for the podium


11 June, 2016

Wolfsburg (11 June 2016). Sun, sand and big jumps – Volkswagen remains well-placed in the race for victory and podiums at the very demanding Rally Italy. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), in the Polo R WRC, trail leading duo Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai) by just 16.1 seconds after 90 per cent of the distance on Sardinia, well ahead of Volkswagen team-mates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) in third place. Excellent driving, intelligent tyre selection and reliable material – particularly given the brutal routes – were all essential on such classic stages as “Monte Lerno”, with the infamous “Micky’s Jump”, scorching heat and vast quantities of dust. Both Latvala/Anttila and Ogier/Ingrassia made the right decisions for their respective starting positions – determined by their positions in the World Rally Championship – and paced the rally perfectly.

Day two of the rally came to a premature end for Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N). Their Polo R WRC hit a stone on the racing line on stage 14, resulting in a damaged suspension. Mikkelsen/Jæger were forced to retire, but will return under Rally 2 regulations on Sunday, when they can still pick up points on the Power Stage, on which bonus points are up for grabs for the top three drivers and co-drivers.

The Power Stage concludes proceedings on a Sunday that features four special stages and 42.04 kilometres against the clock, before the winner of the Rally Italy on Sardinia is crowned in the early afternoon.

Quotes after day two of the Rally Italy

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“We are right on course in third place. Going into the weekend I said that a podium finish would be the ideal result for Julien and me here on Sardinia. We would obviously have liked to treat our fans to a direct duel with Andreas (Mikkelsen) and Mads (Østberg) on the final day. On the other hand, however, we could – if everything goes to plan – significantly extend our lead in the world championship. The stages were very demanding again. I am glad that we made it through without any major problems. Only in the afternoon did I not have an optimal feeling in the car – the rear was very twitchy and seemed to dance about. We must look into exactly what might have caused that. All in all, however, it was a good day.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“Today was a day of ups and downs. In the morning we cut Thierry Neuville’s lead to three seconds, but I dropped twelve seconds again in the afternoon. We lost too much time, particularly on stage 13. All in all, however, we have to be happy. In these conditions, you have to drive carefully, otherwise a mistake can soon bring your day to a premature end. Thierry risked more than us, and did a great job. We still have a few stages to drive, and we have certainly not given up yet.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“That was just unlucky. Shortly before the end of stage 14, we came round a right bend flat-out. Right in the middle of the racing line was a massive stone, which, even with the best will in the world, we simply could not avoid. As such we had to drive over it at top speed – and that destroyed the front-right suspension. We could do nothing about it. To go out in that way is obviously disappointing, and certainly not what we had imagined. We can still score points on the Power Stage tomorrow. I will be trying to take something away from the rally. Otherwise, we will turn our attention to the next rally in Poland, where we have always done well in the past.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“A typical day at the Rally Italy on Sardinia. Dust, heat and brutal conditions really put the drivers, co-drivers and cars through their paces. You needed a good tyre strategy and to pace the race well today. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala did that perfectly, but Andreas Mikkelsen was really unlucky. He hit a stone on the racing line on the penultimate stage of the day and was forced to retire with a damaged suspension. Up until that point he was well-placed and had made up time on his direct rivals in the world championship out on the route. Second and third are good starting positions for our team for tomorrow’s final sprint. I am sure that Jari-Matti will once again go all out for the win tomorrow. It remains exciting.”

And then there was …

… a stubborn screw thread. This prevented Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger from arriving on time at the time-check after the midday service. When reading the data recording, the Volkswagen engineers had detected a faulty sensor, which monitors the fuel pressure. They set about replacing the sensor at the end of the 30-minute midday service. However, when removing the sensor, the screw thread was not straight and the procedure took a few seconds too long – long enough to earn Mikkelsen and Jæger a ten-second penalty.

Provisional result after day two of the Rally Italy

01. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, 3h 07m 35.2s
02. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, + 16.1s
03. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, + 1m 15.0s
04. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 2m 19.2s
05. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 4m 50.6s
06. Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (N/A), Ford, + 5m 32.4s
07. Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F), Ford, + 5m 38.5s
08. Karl Kruuda/Martin Jarveoja (EST/EST), Ford, + 11m 35.3s
09. Martin Prokop/Jan Tománek (CZ/CZ), Ford, + 12m 33.1s
10. Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ), Škoda, + 13m 31.6s












André Dietzel
Media Volkswagen Motorsport

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