Latvala ahead of Ogier and Mikkelsen – Positions one to three in the Rally Finland shakedown
Event with the highest speed and most jumps in the WRC is on
Typical Finland from a rallying perspective: The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has started its eighth round of the season with a real taste of what is to come. At the shakedown in the Rally Finland, the Volkswagen works duos Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) completed the track – characterised by plenty of full throttle and long jumps – with the three best times.
The Polo R WRC is yet to be beaten in the pacey rallies in Finland and Poland, although it will be incredibly difficult for Volkswagen to continue this streak in light of strong rivals who have a slight advantage when it comes to starting positions. Latvala/Anttila reached a high average speed of 125.50 km/h in the shakedown.
So the Rally Finland is picking up where it left off last year: The 2015 edition went down as the fastest rally in WRC history.
The eighth round of the WRC gets underway on Thursday evening with the short first stage “Harju”, before the first 150 kilometres against the clock on Friday. There are a total of 24 special stages covering 333.60 kilometres to master.
Quotes, shakedown Rally Finland
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“Coming to Finland is always the highlight of the season. The tracks are fantastic, the adrenalin is higher than anywhere else here when you are flying through the forest at 200 km/h. Which is why it was very important for me to take part in testing in advance to get the right feeling for the car and track. I didn’t take part in testing ahead of Poland because my son had just been born. The shakedown was flawless, the Polo is tuned perfectly. Nevertheless, it won’t be an easy weekend for me, even Juha Kankkunen predicted that my starting position is far from advantageous in the current conditions.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The shakedown result confirmed my good feeling during testing ahead of the rally. Naturally, Finland is a special rally for Miikka and I, and accordingly we really look forward to our home rally. The competition is fierce, shakedown proved that, but we are in with a chance of winning and in doing so claiming our third win here in a row. There is still a long way to go, but we will do our best and no doubt the support of the fans will make anything possible.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Lots of jumps, high speed – after all the landings your back tells you that you are in Finland again. And that is fantastic. The shakedown was a good opportunity to get used to the typical Finnish rally since it was a good mix of what we can expect at the weekend. The Polo is responding exactly as it should, we felt comfortable right from the start. So overall it was a good start to the weekend that officially starts this evening, but really gets going tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to it.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Rally Finland is a real classic in the WRC with its unique, typical Finnish gravel tracks, which make for ideal conditions. Hundreds of thousands of fans come to the stages, and this extremely fair and knowledgeable crowd create a fantastic atmosphere. There’s no doubt: Every driver, every team wants to win here – it is a matter of prestige. It will be far from easy for us at Volkswagen since our strong rivals have much better starting positions than we do. That doesn’t change our goal of remaining unbeaten here on our fourth appearance with the Polo R WRC. But everyone in the team is aware that the only way to achieve this is by not making a single mistake. The shakedown showed that we are on the right track.”