First, fifth and sixth for the Volkswagen drivers
“Free practice” on ice and snow whets the appetite for round two of the WRC
Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia fastest in the Polo R WRC
Volkswagen finished first, fifth and sixth fastest in the Shakedown ahead of the Rally Sweden. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) were the fastest duo on the 4.30-kilometre “Råda” stage, which was used for the FIA World Rally Championship’s (WRC) free practice. They were followed by Robert Kubica (M-Sport-Ford), Mads Østberg and Kris Meeke (Citroën), as well as Volkswagen team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). Without having to look after the so-called Sweden spikes, the top drivers completed at least four runs – sometimes up to seven – with every attempt quicker than the previous run. On the whole, conditions improved with every World Rally Car, as they swept the snow and slush from what at the start of the day were icy, snow-covered roads.
The Rally Sweden is the second round of the season in the 2015 World Rally Championship. The only rally on the calendar to be held entirely on snow and ice officially gets underway this evening with a 1.90-kilometre stage on the racecourse in Karlstad.
Quotes after the Shakedown at the Rally Sweden
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Ice and snow are some of my very favourite conditions, so I am glad to be back in Sweden again. The roads were in perfect condition when we did the ‘Recce’. Unfortunately it has warmed up a little, and you could really notice this on the Shakedown. When it starts to thaw, the conditions become very slippery and far from easy. For this reason, I hope it freezes over again during the night. If so, the fans can look forward to a spectacular rally. The fiercest opposition will certainly come from the Nordic drivers like Østberg, Tänak and, of course, my team-mates Jari-Matti and Andreas. Julien and I are feeling just as good as our Polo R WRC coming into this event.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Shakedown went perfectly. Our Polo feels good and the conditions are top-class, despite the rise in temperature. The competition will be fierce. Not just from our own team. You cannot afford to underestimate anyone, particularly Mats Østberg and Ott Tänak. And it goes without saying that you have to take the starting order into account. Winning here for the fourth time would certainly be very special for me. However, we have a long way to go before then.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“That was the first time that I have completed the Shakedown stage here at full speed. In previous years we have always had to look after the tyres, but this time we had access to a set of spikes specifically for the Shakedown. The walls of snow along at the sides of the road are particularly high this time, so the route was very narrow. It was anything but easy out there, but this made it a good warm-up for the coming days. Unfortunately you could also see how the conditions were improving with every car.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Everybody in the WRC circus loves the Rally Sweden, as it is truly one of a kind. This is the only place you get to plough full-speed through the snow-covered forests on studded tyres. And this year the drivers, teams and spectators can look forward to a particularly beautiful edition of this classic. There is a thick layer of ice on the stages, which are nestled in a perfect winter wonderland. However, today’s Shakedown also showed us that the conditions can change quickly when the temperatures rise. Whatever happens, we will do our best to remain unbeaten here in Sweden with the Polo R WRC.”