Volkswagen duos clock top times on their return from the 38-day WRC break
Rally Argentina a big challenge for man and machine
Ogier fastest in Shakedown, Mikkelsen third, Latvala fifth
The three Volkswagen duos are primed and ready for the Rally Argentina: they ended the Shakedown ahead of round four of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) among the fastest cars. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) were on top form on the 4.59-kilometre stage, clocking the first, third and fifth fastest times respectively. All three Volkswagen drivers used the “free practice” in Villa Carlos Paz, in the province of Córdoba, to work on the set-up of the Polo R WRC. The most recent rally, in Mexico, is a distant 38 days back – an unusually long break by World Championship standards.
The real rally action kicks off on Thursday evening with the spectator stage in the centre of Merlo. From Friday to Sunday, the Rally Argentina’s severely eroded, raw roads and deep potholes will put the drivers and World Rally Cars through their paces.
Quotes after the Shakedown at the Rally Argentina
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The feeling in the car is good. I am very happy with the Shakedown, although the road was far less raw and rocky than the special stages we experienced during the ‘Recce’. As far as the route conditions are concerned, I have never seen a tougher Rally Argentina in my career so far. It will be extremely interesting for the fans to see who makes it through to the finish on Sunday in these conditions. It will be important not to take too many risks. Friday’s opening stage will be particularly exciting, as we will be driving over 50 kilometres without any split times. In this situation, you never know how you are doing compared to the opposition.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“It has been a long break between the rallies in Mexico and Argentina. For this reason, the Shakedown is always about getting a feel for the Polo again. After three runs of the Shakedown, we have now achieved that and hope to start the rally on Friday with the same rhythm we had when we won here last season. It is fantastic to be back here, and I am looking forward to the special stages, which are tough and demanding but also very beautiful.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“After a lengthy break, the Shakedown is always the perfect opportunity to get used to the speed and feel in a World Rally Car again. We did precisely that today. The coming days will be tough for the car and us, the driver and co-driver. The rain has severely eroded the roads and left some deep holes. For this reason, it will be important to drive intelligently and look after the car, as well as to be quick. I have always had good results in Argentina. I am looking forward to the rally.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“We face a big challenge at the Rally Argentina, but showed in today’s Shakedown that we are ready for it. The ‘Recce’ showed that the roads are seriously eroded and littered with holes and sharp stones. We must counter this very cleverly. Argentina is one of our favourite motorsport venues and Volkswagen has enjoyed great success here in the past. Ideally, we will succeed again on Sunday. However, we have a lot of work ahead of us before then.”