¡Hola, gravel! Top times for Volkswagen in Rally Spain Shakedown.


Ogier/Ingrassia clock best time in WRC “free practice”
Mikkelsen/Jæger third fastest, Latvala/Anttila sixth


Wolfsburg (13 October 2016). Back on gravel and the Volkswagen drivers are in top form – Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) set the fastest time in the Shakedown ahead of the Rally Spain. The three-time world champions, who could be crowned champions for the fourth time in Catalonia, regardless of other results, finished ahead of Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E, Hyundai) and their Volkswagen team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) in slippery and sometimes muddy conditions. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) clocked the sixth fastest time on the 2.97-kilometre route.

The FIA World Rally Championship’s (WRC) brief return to gravel – the Rally Spain will take place on loose ground on Friday, before switching to asphalt for Saturday and Sunday’s stages around the coastal town of Salou – proved to be a slippery affair. Overnight rain had softened up the route. The weather could play a key role again on Friday: rain would benefit those opening the route, dry conditions would be beneficial for those further down the starting order.

The Rally Spain kicks off on Thursday evening with the exciting “Barcelona” special stage at the foot of Montjuïc.

Quotes after the Shakedown head of the Rally Spain

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“This is obviously a special rally for Julien and me this weekend. We have a great chance of winning our fourth world championship title. That would be a fantastic success. As at every rally, we are here to win. However, if the situation so warrants, we will obviously not risk everything. Whatever happens, I can assure the fans that I have learnt from my crash on the Power Stage last year. The conditions are not easy, thanks to the rain, but that could actually mean that it is an advantage for me to open the route this time. The show start in Barcelona, with the opening stage at the foot of Montjuïc, will also be exciting: gravel tyres on wet asphalt – that could be a slippery affair.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“We tried out a number of set-up variants and, all in all, are happy with the Shakedown. As such, we should be well equipped for the Rally Spain, which is the only event on the calendar to be held on both gravel and asphalt. The overnight rain meant the Shakedown was far from easy. However, it may have given as a taste of things to come tomorrow. It may possibly rain again on Friday. That will ultimately make the difference between dust and mud. So, it is going to be exciting.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“A good Shakedown, on which we had good pace from the word go. That is always a good sign. We felt comfortable in the Polo R WRC from the very first metre, even though it was quite wet, muddy and very slippery. I think we found a good set-up and we are ready for the Rally Spain. We want to finish ahead of Thierry Neuville here, in order to increase our lead over him in the battle for second place in the world championship. That is what we are focusing on.”

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Rally Spain has actually always been a good place for us – our three crews are obviously looking to continue in this vein this weekend. Today’s heavy rain is not typical for this event, but it did make the Shakedown all the more important: should it rain over the coming days, we will be well prepared. We are now looking forward to this evening’s opening stage in Barcelona, which is one of the most atmospheric and spectacular on the WRC calendar.”

Rally Spain, Shakedown result

01. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen, 2m 13.9s
02. Dani Sordo/Marc Martí (E/E), Hyundai, + 0.1s
03. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N), Volkswagen, + 1.2s
04. Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (EST/EST), Ford, + 1.7s
05. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën, + 1.7s
06. Jari-Matti Latala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen + 2.0s















André Dietzel
Media Volkswagen Motorsport

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