05_2015-WRC-05-BK1-2416

All three Volkswagen duos embroiled in four-way battle for the win

Different tyre strategies cause excitement down to the wire

Eight of 13 possible best times for the Volkswagen Polo R WRC

It’s going to be a heart-stopping finale: A thrilling final spurt for the win awaits the Rally Portugal. And all three Volkswagen duos are in with a chance of getting the win in the four-way battle for victory ahead of the closing 54.65 kilometres of special stages on Sunday.

The leaders in the Polo R WRC: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila from Finland. They’ve got themselves into the best position with an advantage of 9.5 seconds over their Volkswagen team-mates SĂ©bastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F). Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL, CitroĂ«n) follow in third place with a deficit of a further 10.5 seconds, closely followed by the third Volkswagen duo.

After 269.53 kilometres against the clock, Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene are in fourth, and only 1.1 seconds off a podium finish.

Once again, the dominant topic on the third day of rallying action was the tyre selection. While Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila opted for a mix of hard and soft Michelin competition tyres for both the morning and afternoon loops, Mikkelsen/Fløene only used the soft version in the morning.

Another topic of the day was the catch-up of double world champions Ogier/Ingrassia. They made up 16.4 seconds on the leaders Latvala/Anttila, and moved up four places.

A real classic awaits the World Rally Cars on the deciding Sunday. The legendary stage “Fafe” with its spectacular leap will be driven twice – the second time it will be the closing power stage, on which bonus points are awarded to the best three duos.

Quotes, day 03 Rally Portugal

SĂ©bastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Julien and I risked everything today. On top of that, our tyre strategy paid off. Overall I am more than happy with our position going into the final day. I feel that we did a perfect job in the cockpit. A little over nine seconds means that it won’t be that easy to catch Jari-Matti Latvalatomorrow, but it’s not impossible either. I’ll continue to put all my eggs in one basket again on Sunday and give one hundred percent – and then we’ll see what we can achieve with that.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“It was a day of many positives, but also a few negatives for us. The conditions were anything but easy, it was extremely slippery on the special stages and there were some stones on the track here and there. On the first stage I lost around five seconds due to a driving error, and Kris Meeke made up a lot of time by the first service. I turned it around in the afternoon and was able to edge away from Meeke again. But my team-mate SĂ©bastien Ogier really piled on the pressure all day and is now breathing down my neck. It will be a thrilling battle for the win tomorrow. The positive is that I’m leading the rally and still have an advantage of almost ten seconds.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“All in all that was a good day for us and I am happy with my own performance. Don’t forget this is the first time I have driven the second generation Polo R WRC in competition. I also opted for a completely different tyre strategy to my team-mates this morning and fitted four softs. However, I still managed to save soft tyres for the finale. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see whether this pays off in the end. I would obviously love to be on the podium come the end of the rally. However, I also want to make sure I score some points, having left Argentina empty-handed. It will all come down to calculating the risk as well as possible.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“All three Polo R WRCs are battling for the win – as Motorsport Director, you cannot ask for more. Tyre selection was not easy today. The bottom line is that both the strategies employed by our drivers were right, and all three Volkswagen drivers produced excellent performances. SĂ©bastien Ogier’s fightback was very impressive, and I am sure he will not ease off on Sunday and be content with taking second place today. However, Jari-Matti Latvala also showed today that he can manage a lead intelligently. The battle between these two will be exciting right down to the end. They will both have to stay alert though, as Kris Meeke in the CitroĂ«n and our youngster Andreas Mikkelsen are almost level within striking distance of the front two. No question: the way things stand, we are really looking forward to Sunday at the Rally Portugal.”

And then there was …

… the final day of the Bundesliga season. Even in distant Portugal, the battle to avoid relegation from Germany’s top football division was followed closely – and nervously. Given its locations, the Volkswagen team is naturally split into two main camps – fans of Hannover, and fans of Wolfsburg. However, there are also a number of supporters of Schalke, Hamburg, Dortmund and Stuttgart among the engineers, mechanics and logisticians. As such, there were plenty of topics of conversation. From immediately after the midday service until shortly before the evening service, groups were often to be found gathered around radios and laptops. Emotions were running high, but the survival of Stuttgart and Hannover, and the fact that Hamburg climbed out of the automatic relegation places and now face a relegation play-off, made for a lot of happy faces.

 
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC),
Rally Portugal – Results
 
Thursday,
21 May 2015
km #1
Ogier/
Ingrassia
#2
Latvala/
Anttila
#9
Mikkelsen/
Fløene
 
SS 01S Lousada 03.36 P02
(+ 0.5s)
P03
(+ 0.8s)
P01
 
Overall classification P02
(+ 0.5s)
P03
(+ 0.8s)
P01
 
Friday,
22 May 2015
km #1
Ogier/
Ingrassia
#2
Latvala/
Anttila
#9
Mikkelsen/
Fløene
 
SS 02 Ponte de Lima 1 27.53 P06
(+ 12.1s)
P05
(+ 6.2s)
P03
(+ 2.8s)
SS 03 Caminha 1 18.05 P06
(+ 7.4s)
P02
(+ 0.3s)
P04
(+ 2.3s)
SS 04 Viana do Castelo 1 18.76 P07
(+ 13.0s)
P01 P06
(+ 11.4s)
SS 05 Ponte de Lima 2 27.53 cancelled
SS 06 Caminha 2 18.05 P01 P02
(+ 2.6s)
P05
(+ 4.3s)
SS 07 Viana do Castelo 2 18.76 P02
(+ 2.8s)
P01 P05
(+ 5.1s)
 
Overall classification P06
(+ 25.9s)
P01 P03
(+ 16.0s)
 
Saturday,
23 May 2015
km #1
Ogier/
Ingrassia
#2
Latvala/
Anttila
#9
Mikkelsen/
Fløene
 
SS 08 BaiĂŁo 1 18.57 P02
(+ 0.6s)
P03
(+ 6.1s)
P01
SS 09 MarĂŁo 1 26.46 P03
(+ 1.6s)
P02
(+ 0.2s)
P04
(+ 1.7s)
SS 10 FridĂŁo 1 37.67 P02
(+ 2.4s)
P03
(+ 5.1s)
P04
(+ 9.0s)
SS 11 BaiĂŁo 2 18.57 P01 P02
(+ 2.8s)
P03
(+ 4.1s)
SS 12 MarĂŁo 2 26.46 P01 P02
(+ 1.9s)
P04
(+ 4.2s)
SS 13 FridĂŁo 2 37.67 P01 P02
(+ 4.9s)
P03
(+ 7.1s)
 
Overall classification P02
(+ 9.5s)
P01 P04
(+ 21.1s)
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