Still leading the way on home soil – Volkswagen duo Ogier/Ingrassia maintain their lead in France.

Sébastien Ogier (F), Julien Ingrassia (F) Volkswagen Polo R WRC (2016) WRC Rally France - Corsica 2016 Photo: Helena El Mokni

Sébastien Ogier on the verge of a home win in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
Third place for Andreas Mikkelsen, fourth for Jari-Matti Latvala
600 stage wins – the Polo R WRC reaches another milestone


Wolfsburg (01 October 2016). Come rain, come shine – Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have extended their lead at the Rally France and are within touching distance of a home win in the World Rally Championship. After two of the three days, and 326.72 of a total of 390.92 kilometres against the clock on Corsica, the three-time world champions lead Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai) by 46.5 seconds. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) battled their way into third place on Saturday, leapfrogging ahead of their Volkswagen teammates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), despite being faced with extremely difficult conditions at times. The Norwegians may still challenge for second place on Sunday. They currently trail Neuville/Gilsoul by 21.5 seconds ahead of the final 64.20 kilometres of special stage.

Day two of the Rally France consisted of two special stages, each of which had to be tackled twice. Featuring the long, winding sections so typical of the rally on Corsica, these proved a real challenge for the crews. Showers in the afternoon added an extra degree of difficulty. As well as a tricky tire selection, competitors were also faced with the threat of showers on the one hand, and drying roads on the other, on the afternoon loop.

By the end of day two of the rally, the Polo R WRC had an impressive 600 stage wins to its name – out of a possible 892. Since the car‘s debut at the Rally Monte Carlo in 2013, Volkswagen duos have worn approximately two thirds of the special stages they have contested.

Quotes after day two of the Rally France

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I did not want to take too many chances today, as the risk of suffering a puncture is quite high on these long stages. Given the lead we had, Julien and I could afford to lose a few seconds to the opposition. However, that does not mean that we were slow. Our priority was to drive a clean line. The rain made things even more exciting in the afternoon, but the combination of four hard and two soft Michelin tyres was definitely the correct choice. Right now, it looks as though Julien and I have a very good chance of finishing on the top step of the podium at our home rally. However, the 53-kilometre stage tomorrow morning demands full concentration – one mistake can shake everything up again.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I never really had a good feel for the brakes today, and was not really happy with my times. Unfortunately, this meant I was unable to attack as I had hoped. Instead, I just had to do what I could. We tried out a slightly softer set-up towards the end, which worked well. All in all, fourth place is a good result, although not what I had hoped for. However, we will not give up in the battle for the podium.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I had a good feel for the car this morning, and went on the attack a bit. We fought our way into third place and made up some good time on Thierry Neuville, who is ahead of us in second place. We then lost a little ground in the afternoon, as we found it tough to match the opposition’s pace, particularly on a drying route. All in all, we are happy and are obviously hoping for a podium finish tomorrow. However, we have far from given up on second place. It will definitely be interesting again tomorrow, as the longest stage of the rally is still to come.”

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Rally France on Corsica proved a test for the entire team today – and all the pieces came together perfectly. Not only were the drivers and co-drivers put through their paces today, but the weather crew also had to be wide awake, with showers difficult to predict. Sébastien Ogier extended his lead, while Andreas Mikkelsen climbed into third place and will certainly have one eye on second place. Jari-Matti Latvala may have lost a position, but is still well in the race in fourth. All in all, we are very happy after this demanding day.”

And then there was …

… true rally enthusiasm. Three US boys Jacques Pozzo di Borgo, Scott Brandt Patterson and John Douglas Patterson made the long journey from New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. to Corsica just to see the round ten of the world championship. They are real Volkswagen fans: after crossing the big pond, they promptly visited Volkswagen Service, collected autographs and also chatted to the three driver/co-driver teams. Come again soon, boys!

Standings after day two of the Rally France

01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, 3h 27m 10.0s
02. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai, + 46.5s
03. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 1m 08.0s
04. Jari-Matti Latala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen + 1m 41.3s
05. Craig Breen/Scott Martin (GB/GB), Citroën, + 2m 04.9s
06. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai, + 2m 42.7s
07. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 3m 03.9s
08. Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F), Ford, + 4m 18.2s
09. Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (N/N), Ford, + 5m 10.5s
10. Elfyn Evans/Craig Perry (GB/GB), Ford, + 5m 47.0s













André Dietzel
Media Volkswagen Motorsport

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Photos: Hélena El Mokni / Daniel Roeseler / Kräling / Red Bull by Volkswagen Motorsport