Ogier first in WRC “free practice”, Latvala fourth, Mikkelsen sixth

First gravel rally of the year, initial impression is positive

The gravel season of the WRC has begun: Volkswagen kicked off the Rally Mexico with the best time. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassa (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) completed the shakedown in first, and with the fourth- and sixth-fastest times. Rough tracks that demanded a lot from the chassis of the three Polo R WRCs awaited the participants at the opener of the third event of the season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Quotes, shakedown Rally Mexico

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The shakedown went well, I had a good feeling in the Polo R WRC. But it’s clear that Julien and I face a great challenge in terms of the track conditions in Mexico. But you never know what will happen. However, the fans can be sure that we will always do our best. As always Mexico is a highlight for me, the track profile is fantastic. The ceremonial start in Guanajuato is a great experience in particular. Overall, Julien and I aren’t under any pressure to pick up points after our two wins in Monte Carlo and Sweden, but my rivals are. That’s why I’m totally relaxed heading into the rally.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The shakedown has two main purposes: one is that as a driver you want to get used to the conditions in Mexico – after all it’s the first gravel rally of the year. The other is to find the optimum tuning for the car. We tried out different tuning on our Polo to make sure we are prepared for the changeable conditions. The morning’s stages pose different challenges for the car than in the afternoon when the entire field has left its mark. We will use our insights to work on the tuning for the rally. But first up it’s the start in Guanajuato, which is held on asphalt and cobblestones – I’m sure that there will be plenty of Volkswagen fans at this highlight.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The shakedown today was all about getting a feeling for gravel tracks again. We started cautiously and picked up the pace slowly but surely, even though we didn’t improve on the final two passes. However, overall we did well getting to grips with the conditions here.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The shakedown here in Mexico was a good test for the special stages in the coming days. We are well prepared, the drivers have got a fresh feeling for the special conditions on gravel. One thing’s for sure: We’re looking forward to the Rally Mexico, the crowds of excited fans and the great atmosphere.”

- Advertisement -