"You can easily make a mistake and find yourself flying off the road"
Even the fog and mud could not stop Volkswagen in Wales. Nine special stages, seven stage wins, and two Polo R WRCs out in front: the Manufacturers’ World Champions* remain on track to bring the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) to a successful conclusion. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) extended their overall lead on day two of the Rally Great Britain, with team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) their closest rivals. The World Champions* take a lead of 20.1 seconds into the third day on Saturday. With 160.81 of the 311.15 kilometres of special stage behind them, Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) find themselves well placed in sixth overall in the third World Rally Car from Wolfsburg.
Quotes after day two of the Rally Great Britain
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7 “It was not very easy to judge the surface conditions. Some places we thought would be slippery actually offered good levels of grip, while quite the opposite was true of other spots. As the first car out onto the route, we did not have any braking marks to use as orientation. As such, it was difficult to find a good rhythm right from the word go. I lost a little time here and there, but hope to be able to push hard again tomorrow morning. We are only halfway through, so a lot can still happen.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8 “It is another typical Rally Great Britain, that much is certain. You can easily make a mistake and find yourself flying off the road. I have experienced that often enough in the past. The conditions are difficult, particularly on the ‘Myherin’ stage, where the grip level changed so often. For this reason, we did not risk everything all the time. Even I was surprised by my time this morning – fortunately it was a nice surprise. There was a great atmosphere on ‘Sweet Lamb’, and I’m sure the many spectators there were having great fun. You can see almost the entire route, which features a lot of spectacular jumps and the water crossing.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9 “All in all it was a good day for us. The conditions were not easy today, as the special stages were very slippery. I struggled with understeer and had to work really hard with the handbrake to keep the car on track. That obviously cost time here and there. However, we couldn’t quite match the absolute best times – even on those stages, on which we were clean, quick and error-free. Messieurs Latvala and Ogier are quite simply doing a fantastic and impressive job at the moment. Respect.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director “A fantastic day for Volkswagen. To be first, second and sixth about halfway through such a demanding rally as the one here in Wales is a stunning team result. Sébastien Ogier was once again outstanding today, and produced another master class. However, Jari-Matti Latvala was right up there with his team-mate and also consistently clocked really quick times. And Andreas Mikkelsen is also well placed. All in all, I am proud of our guys. We are looking forward to the next couple of days, during which the new start order – based on the overall standings – will add a bit of extra spice, with the best drivers starting at the back of the WRC field tomorrow.”
And then there was ...
... the first heavy braking manoeuvre of the day. At 05:57 on Friday morning, the Volkswagen van transferring the Volkswagen drivers and co-drivers from the hotel to the Service Park was forced to make an unscheduled stop. World Champion* co-driver Julien Ingrassia had suddenly realised he was minus a very important piece of equipment: his pace notes for day two of the rally. Having woken at the crack of dawn, “Juju” had mistakenly packed the pace notes for one of the other days. Without further ado, Ingrassia climbed into the second car, carrying the medical team, and headed back to pick up the correct pace notes while his team-mates continued on to the Service Park. It goes without saying that all three Volkswagen pairings were ready and waiting come start time.