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Volkswagen driver quotes ahead of the Rally Australia

Volkswagen driver quotes ahead of the Rally Australia

06.09.2014: Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1 “The Rally Australia suits me perfectly. I love the layout of the special stages

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1




“The Rally Australia suits me perfectly. I love the layout of the special stages and always feel good Down Under. 2013 was almost perfect for Julien and me: 19 best times on 22 special stages, and on top of that we secured three bonus points for winning the power stage.


Naturally we want to repeat that this year. But that will be far from easy: We will be the first to take to the special stages on day one, and the competition is close and alert – Hyundai proved this with the win and second place in Germany. Mistakes are punished, we experienced that – but that’s rallying for you.


The Rally Germany is behind us and we are looking ahead. Fortunately Julien and I are totally fine after the accident. We had a few tests done to make sure, and the results were all positive. We secured the drivers’ title for Volkswagen in Germany, but not the manufacturers’ championship. That’s definitely the goal for Australia.”



Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2



“The Rally Australia is always something special. I like the relaxed way of life they have there, the countryside and how close this rally is to the ocean. From a sporting point of view we are switching back from asphalt to gravel, which is always harder than the other way around.


But we are doing a quick test in Finland before the rally to get used to the feeling once again, and in particular the different braking points. Finland is a good choice since the rally Down Under requires a vehicle set-up somewhere between the Rally Mexico and the Rally Finland. The first day, on which there are increasingly narrow, technical passages through the forest, is more like Mexico.


The second day, with its wide, fast and drawn out passages, is more like Finland. So we need two different set-ups: a softer one and a harder one. It helps that the shakedown will be held on one of the special stages this time, just driving in the opposite direction. That will give us a feel for the actual track.


Unfortunately we didn’t manage to close the gap on my team-mate Sébastien Ogier in the championship in Germany recently. So we’re starting in the same position. I hope that I can fight for the win. But we also need to keep an eye on the competition outside of our team. I think that Citroën and Hyundai also have a good chance of winning.”



Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9


“Back on gravel, I like it. The Rally Australia is one of the races this year that I have already completed in the Polo R WRC. I have fond memories of the rally to boot. I enjoyed every special stage back then. We will take many of them on again this year. There are a lot of blind entry points in the forest, which is anything but easy.




 It’s so easy to make a mistake and wreck the rally for yourself. We will have to pay particular attention to ‘Nambucca’, because it is not only the longest, but also possibly the most difficult special stage of the Rally Australia. Covering just less than 50 kilometres, it has everything that can make life difficult for a rally driver.


On top of the many blind corners, there is also the switch to asphalt. But this year we can rely on the onboard notes from 2013, and I will be studying them in detail. Overall I don’t feel under that much pressure since we are in good stead in the drivers’ standings. And whenever I have started without a lot of pressure, I have got a good result.


 I would like to make it onto the podium again. Of course it would be great to also win a rally one day, but I’m not in any rush. However, the Rally Australia is definitely one of the rallies in which I have the most chance of that.”



The number of the Rally Australia: 1.8


Volkswagen duo Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia delivered an almost perfect rally in Australia last year. 19 out of 22 possible best stage times and a total time of 3:19.55.0 hours. Ogier/Ingrassia missed out on the ideal rally time (3:19.53.2 hours), which is the total of all of the special stage best times, by 1.8 seconds.




Three questions for logistics manager Lutz Meyer




It’s off to Australia – how much more effort is required for overseas rallies than for European events?



Lutz Meyer: “In brief: We had to get everything ready within three days. We dismantled everything in Trier on Sunday and sent the vehicles and the important parts to Hannover that evening so that they were there on Monday morning. The mechanics and I were back in the office on Monday morning after the Rally Germany.


All of the parts were sent to the specialist departments to be inspected, they were checked on Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday we loaded them into the container, listed them, created customs declarations and cleared customs – then it was off again to air cargo. Within Europe we have at least one and a half weeks to do all this.”



How many days a year do you not spend thinking about rallies and logistics?


Lutz Meyer: “There aren’t really any. Maybe Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after that. But even then you can’t switch off completely since the Rally Monte Carlo is in mid-January. In reality you think about it at least once every day – then you think of something or other and write it down.


I’ve made an agreement with my girlfriend for my days off: I spend half an hour of the day working. I do that to make sure that the most important things have been done and that the process continues to run smoothly.”


With so many logistics for work, who plans the holidays in your household?

Lutz Meyer: “My girlfriend does, I allow myself that luxury. She plans the holiday, compares and evaluates. And I gladly agree to the result.”



Andre Dietzel, Ingo Roersch, photos Volkswagen

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/australia-rally-volkswagen-driver-quotes-ogier-mikkelsen-latvala---127284.html

06.09.2014 / MaP

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