Volkswagen suffered yet another setback on the third day of the Rally Germany. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) were forced to retire and give up the lead in Volkswagen’s home race; the Finnish duo will be allowed to resume from seventh place on Sunday in accordance with Rally 2 regulations. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) had to retire on the previous day, after they also spun off the track. After restarting under the Rally 2 regulations and suffering a 25-minute penalty, they finished the third day in 24th position. The French pairing recorded three best times over the five stages that were held on Saturday.
The action from the Rally Germany was overshadowed by a serious accident involving a historic car participating in a private demonstration programme. Unfortunately, the injuries sustained by both the driver and the passenger proved fatal. The second loop of the ‘Arena Panzerplatte’ stage was cancelled. The Rally Germany will resume on Sunday.
“Up until going off the track on the twelfth stage, this was our best asphalt rally so far this season – it was the first time that we were leading and victory was within touching distance. Unfortunately, there was a little incident in the morning, which caused some damage to the passenger door. On the way to the next stage following the service, we discovered that Miikka’s door kept on opening. He had to hold it shut with one hand whilst thumbing through the notes with the other. At a particularly slippery section, the information was communicated a little too late and we hit a stone on the side of the track. This damaged the right rear suspension. We tried to keep going, but the suspension gave up shortly before the end and we slid off from the track. Tomorrow, we will be trying to pick up some points in the Manufacturer’s category.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“It was quite hard to find the motivation earlier today. But the best way to combat that is to record the fastest stage times. And I was able to do that in three of the five stages that took place today. As such, it was a pretty good day for us – the exact opposite of yesterday. We also tired out a different set-up with which I was very pleased. With Jari-Matti also being forced to retire, there probably won’t be a Polo on the podium; it’s a real shame, but it happens from time to time. Losing is a part of sport.”
Jost Capito, Director of Volkswagen Motorsport
“After some excellent results recently and a good start to this rally, we’re going to have to take today on the chin. Although the Polo R WRC and our drivers have shown that Volkswagen are also more than competitive on asphalt, we are now out of the running for a rally victory. Both Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala have led this rally. However, you need a bit of luck to come out victorious in the end. And that’s what we’ve been lacking over the last two days.”