Mikkelsen, Ogier and Latvala first, second and third in shakedown at Rally Portugal
First time that three second generation Polo R WRC are in action
Perfect start to the Rally Portugal: Volkswagen took the top three spots in “free practice” at the fifth event of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) quickly set the best time on their debut in the second generation Polo R WRC – ahead of their team-mates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN).
For the first time since 2001, the Rally Portugal will start around Porto in the north of the country – this means that the driver and co-driver duos have to get used to unfamiliar special stages. After the ceremonial start in Guimarães, the rally gets underway with the spectator stage “Lousada”, around 40 kilometres northeast of the service park, which has made its home in the “Exponor” exhibition halls of Porto.
Quotes, Shakedown Rally Portugal
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“It’s great to be back in Portugal. Without a doubt it is one of my favourite rallies, and I’m already looking forward to starting in the north this time. The special stages are extremely demanding. Almost everything is new to us as drivers and co-drivers – and that makes it all the more interesting. Julien and I will give it our all right from the word go. You can count on that. Clever tyre selection will be crucial. The shakedown went smoothly from start to finish.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I’m looking forward to the new, old Rally Portugal in the north. The atmosphere is fantastic and the many fans are frenetic in their support for us as drivers and co-drivers. That always gives us that extra bit of motivation. The shakedown was really sandy. This type of gravel track is typical of the coming days and it suits me. We got into a good rhythm and are ready for the Rally Portugal.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Naturally it was a successful debut with the new Polo R WRC and I got to grips with the car right away. It’s the first time racing in the second generation car for me and there are a number of differences compared with the tried and tested Polo that I am used to driving. Overall it embodies the ultimate World Rally Car for me. We completed a good test ahead of the rally and it’s very convenient using a paddle to change gears on the steering wheel directly. The shakedown itself was a very demanding, slippery, brief stage, which gave us a good taster of the coming days here in Portugal. We’re ready.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The shakedown result is naturally our favourite kind of result here at Volkswagen, three Polo R WRC at the top. But that was only the ‘free practice’ and doesn’t mean much, except that we have given ourselves a little bit of a confidence boost for the coming days. The bit that counts only gets underway this evening with the opening stage in Lousada. That and the special stages on Friday will show how we measure up against our rivals here, who have made a lot of changes to their cars. One thing is certain, we are highly motivated to win the Rally Portugal.”