Estonia versus Norway – Rally duel in Poland goes into overtime.

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2016 -WRC Poland (POL) - WRC 30/06/2016 to 03/07/2016 - PHOTO : @World

Volkswagen goes into final day of the Rally Poland in second, fifth and sixth place
Mikkelsen/Jæger best-placed Polo R WRC duo after top performance


2 July 2016

Wolfsburg (02 July 2016). Volkswagen has kept its hopes of winning the Rally Poland alive: Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) go into the grand finale on Sunday in second place. The pair currently third in the world championship produced a courageous performance in the Polo R WRC to stem the loss of time expected due to their early starting position. They enter Sunday’s final 59.60 kilometres with a deficit of 21.3 seconds. Their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) produced flawless performances to end Saturday in fifth and sixth place respectively. 17 special stages and 246.50 kilometres into the rally, the lead is held by Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST, M-Sport-Ford).

The Rally Poland was once again dominated by fast, full-throttle routes, which were covered by a thick layer of loose gravel and sand on Saturday. The conditions improved with every world rally car that passed. The WRC is certainly set for a thrilling final sprint for victory, with the weather also likely to play an important role on Sunday. After the searing heat on Saturday, rain could change the character of the Rally Poland on Sunday.

Quotes after day two of the Rally Poland

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Another day of nice, super-quick stages at the Rally Poland. However, for me in the role of ‘road-sweeper’ it was one of the toughest days I’ve ever had. As such, it is hard to really enjoy driving at this pace. Julien and I were right on the limit, and even beyond on a few occasions. We actually had a few precarious moments. I am quite exhausted now, both from driving and from the high temperatures in the cockpit. We will give it our all right through to the finish – then see what happens.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“Day two of the Rally Poland was definitely better than the opening day. The changes we made to the set-up of our Polo R WRC had the desired effect. That was confirmed not only by my feel for the car, but also the times. I still made a few mistakes here and there, and was not always able to match the pace of the leaders. On the whole, however, I still gained time on the cars behind me. At the end of the day, I actually won the 16th special stage. This will certainly not go down as my best rally, but it is not over yet and I will continue to do everything I can to end the rally on a positive note.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Today was a really tough day at the Rally Poland – and we were on the limit the entire time. The starting positions mean there are effectively two rallies taking place. One for those opening the route, and another for those, for whom the route has been swept clean. We did everything we could today, really everything, to compensate for our disadvantage and pushed the route and the car to the very limit. A small mistake on my part cost us about five seconds, when we braked too late at a junction and skidded on too far. Apart from that, we could not have done any more today. However, there is no way we will be giving up: we will pull out all the stops again tomorrow. We want to win, even if it is going to be tough.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“All three Volkswagen crews gave it their all today, in order to remain well-placed in the battle for victory and positions – there can be no doubt about that. Opening the route was once again anything but an advantage. Unfortunately, Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and, above all, Andreas Mikkelsen have not been rewarded for their courageous performances. However, they will push hard again over the closing 60 kilometres tomorrow. Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder are putting in a great performance and deserve to lead the Rally Poland. However, they need to be aware of one thing: we have not yet written off our hopes of winning the Rally Poland.”

And then there was …

… the dust. As well as the scorching heat, the dust was also a defining aspect of the Saturday in Poland. This was certainly the case for Michael Ziegler who, as the so-called Parts Chief, is responsible for supplying spare parts. He changes the air filters in the three Polo R WRCs at each midday and evening service, as a precautionary measure. This is something he has done 521 times so far, since the world rally car from Wolfsburg made its debut at the Rally Monte Carlo in 2013.

Provisional result after day two of the Rally Poland

01. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, 2h 05m 37.2s
02. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 21.3s
03. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 27.8s
04. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 43.5s
05. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen, + 1m 04.5s
06. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, + 1m 08.1s
07. Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau (F/F), Citroën, + 1m 21.2s
08. Craig Breen/Scott Martin (IRL/GB), Citroën, + 1m 33.2s
09. Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F), Ford, + 2m 10.6s
10. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 2m 14.9s

André Dietzel
Media Volkswagen Motorsport

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