Volkswagen Polo R WRC at the Monte Carlo Rally
The past few years Volkswagen has owned the Money Carlo Rally. This is the third year in a row that the German automaker has managed a victory in the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). This year they went a step beyond getting the win, they also managed a one-two finish.
Not all was great for VW teams, however. The number 3 car of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila finished the race early because of an accident that put the car into a ditch. In the incident a spectator was hit (thank the Lord he was not seriously hurt and it only made slight contact) which resulted in a fine as the team did not stop at the scene of the accident. This also caused them to arrive at the checkpoint late which ended their rally early. It is very unfortunate that the accident happened, but that is motorsport.
The Volkswagen Polo R WRC has been very successful thus far. Of the 40 rally races the car has been entered in, it has come away with 35 victories. With this third win at the “Monte” the 318 horsepower performance machine enters the company of the Porsche 911, Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta, Mitsubishi Lancer and Citroën Xsara as only the sixth car to accomplish the feat.
With a third win in a row Sébastien Ogier joins the ranks of Sandro Munari, Walter Röhrl, Tommi Mäkinen and Sébastien Loeb. That’s some elite company and it shows just how big an accomplishment this victory is.
Of the win Sébastien Ogier said: “Winning here in Monte Carlo is such an emotional moment for me! It is just an indescribable feeling to win this iconic rally for the third time. The conditions were so tricky. It was so icy and slippery. I am really happy with this success. I would like to thank the entire team, which did a fantastic job this weekend. My ice spies were awesome. Jean Joseph Simon was doing the job for me for the first time here at the ‘Monte’. It was really tough for them to provide us with accurate predictions regarding the state of the roads. The Polo ran superbly. Then there were the many, many fans cheering on Julien and me – it was just a perfect weekend!”
Second place finishing Andreas Mikkelsen said: “An absolutely fantastic start to the WRC season. Second at the ‘Monte’ – that is always going to be rather special. However, it was also the first rally with my new co-driver Anders Jæger – and to stand on the podium together is simply fantastic. I knew that Anders was talented, but he did a perfect job all weekend, for which he deserves my greatest compliment. It was typical ‘Monte’, making it the toughest possible debut for him. The many changes in the weather and varying road conditions, ranging from ice and snow to dry asphalt, meant we had to make a lot of amendments to the pace notes. We drivers also had to be wide-awake all the time. It is thanks to my ice spies, Bernt Kollevold and Timo Alanne, that we are stood on the podium as runners-up today. Not to forget the entire team, who all did a perfect job again. To sum it up: an absolutely fantastic day for us.”
Jari-Matti Latvala talked about the the accident and penalty: “My co-driver Miikka Anttila and I fully accept the stewards’ decision. The safety of spectators and participants must take top priority at any rally. Miikka and I are in absolutely no doubt about that. We very much regret the incident and will do everything possible to avoid this kind of thing happening again in the future. At the same time, we are pleased that the spectator got off so lightly this time, and that nothing serious happened.”