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Ogier leads in Italy, three Polo R WRC fighting for the podium

Ogier leads in Italy, three Polo R WRC fighting for the podium

08.06.2014: § Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia lonely at the top of the Rally Italy § Tyre damage halts Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila




-    Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia lonely at the top of the Rally Italy

-    Tyre damage halts Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila – third place

-   All stage best times of the rally on Saturday go to Volkswagen




Early end to a gripping duel: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia lead the Rally Italy comfortably in their Volkswagen Polo R WRC. On the second day of the sixth race of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season, they staged a high quality battle with their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN).


However, the second Volkswagen duo fell back from the lead into third place after suffering tyre damage on the final special stage of the day. The extremely tough conditions on Sardinia also took their toll on Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) in the third World Rally Car from Wolfsburg.


 With a damaged damper they lost valuable time, but in fourth place overall they are still fighting for a place on the podium, as are Latvala/Anttila. Behind Ogier/Ingrassia, Mads Østberg (Citroën), Latvala and Mikkelsen will fight each other for second, third and fourth place on the final 46.84 kilometres of special stages on Sunday.


The difficult Rally Italy course was also responsible for the headlines on Saturday. Latvala, who took the lead on Friday, battled with Ogier for best times and the overall lead on the first three of the day's four special stages.


The duel between the runner up in the world championship and the World Champion was reaching its climax going into the special stage that covers 59.13 kilometres, making it the longest special stage of the year so far.


Just 12.3 seconds separated Latvala and Ogier, then the Finn hit a stone a few kilometres after starting “Monte Lerno 2”, damaging a wheel that he then had to change. Latvala will start the final four special stages on Sunday trailing Østberg by 21.3 seconds. Mikkelsen is ranked 36.3 seconds behind Latvala and is in fourth place.



Quotes, day 02 Rally Italy


Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1


“What a rally day! I think Jari-Matti and I have put on a good show for the fans. We both drove at the limit. Jari put in a fantastic time on the first stage, after that I was able to make up some time. At the end, when Julien and I were informed that he had lost time we stopped taking as many risks.


We're now in a great position to win the rally again. But there are four difficult stages scheduled for tomorrow, without service – that's why we will be concentrating fully on the final day.”



Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2


“We need to look ahead: The rally isn't over yet and we are still in with a chance of taking back second place. Of course I am also disappointed as we are no longer in with a chance of winning. The day didn't go to plan. On the second stage we lost time through a false alarm due to a defect sensor.


When we went to stop, the warning that the water was at a critically high temperature disappeared and we were able to keep going. In the afternoon I skidded sideways at the start of the 60-kilometre special stage, hit a stone and damaged one of my rear wheels. We lost about two minutes to Sébastien and Julien while we changed the tyre.”



Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9


“Our plan didn't quite work out today. We wanted to set our own pace, drive our own rally. If that had been fast enough to beat Mads Østberg, great. If not, never mind. What we really wanted was to drive well and finish in the top four. We hit a large stone on Special Stage 12 and damaged one of the front dampers.


 As a result we were no longer able to attack on the final 60-kilometre stage and instead tried to contain the damage as much as we could. Which we managed. It's down to team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala's bad luck that we are still within reach of the podium. We're taking things as they come. But the same will be true tomorrow: We aren't going to risk everything to attack.”



Jost Capito, Volkswagen Director of Motorsport


“First place for Ogier, third place for Latvala and fourth place for Mikkelsen – that's a great intermediate result for Volkswagen, but not what we in the team and the many rally fans had hoped for after the results of the previous days. The Latvala versus Ogier duel was at the highest level of rallying until Jari-Matti's setback.


Both drivers displayed extraordinary driving skills and caused much excitement. No one was as good as them today, so it's a shame that the duel is over. However, Sunday will be another scorcher at the Rally Italy. On the track, in the cockpit and for everyone following the WRC on Sardinia.


The battle for second, third and fourth place could go any way. We're looking forward to it. As a team we will do our best to take our chances, but our main aim is to get all three Polo R WRCs to finish in the top positions.”





And then there was ...


... the standard welcome for Ola Fløene. The new, old co-driver at the side of Andreas Mikkelsen, in a Škoda for Volkswagen in the preparation year in 2012, the Volkswagen team members greeted his return to Mikkelsen's side with a friendly “Happy New Year” on his arrival. And that in mid June.


           
Stefan Moser, Andre Dietzel, photos VW and Willy Weyens

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/sardegna-ogier-leads-italy-vw-polo-r-wrc-podium-fight---124141.html

08.06.2014 / MaP

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