Supreme performance in the land of the Gods: Volkswagen driver Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia finished seventh in the Acropolis Rally, the sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. As a result, Ogier scored six World Championship points and presented Volkswagen with its sixth consecutive class victory in the Super 2000 category. The 22 gravel stages provided everything that makes a genuine classic: coarse almost gravel-like subsoil with melon-sized boulders as well as alternating fast and very dusty sections. Everything was made even more difficult by the changeable weather conditions in the mountains overlooking the Greek Mediterranean coast. In a word: another good opportunity for the Volkswagen team to prepare for its entry into the FIA World Rally Championship with the Polo R WRC.
“The Acropolis Rally is one of the real classics in the World Rally Championship and also represents the toughest test in this year’s calendar. For our team the perfect venue to prepare for the forthcoming year with Polo R WRC,” explained Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Our team performed exceptionally well. The rally made huge demands of both man and machine: the drivers had to find a balance between speed and safety; at the same time a great deal of work awaited the crew during the short service breaks. We take a lot of valuable experience home which will go into the ongoing preparations for 2013.”
Sebastién Ogier set the pace in the Super 2000 class and even beat several more powerful WRC cars again. The rough nature of the stages covering a distance of 409.47 kilometres did not, however, leave his Fabia unscathed – Ogier and Ingrassia quickly changed a bent track rod between two stages and later on even repaired a leak in the steering system. “We can be really satisfied with the result,” says the 28-year old Frenchman who won the same rally last year in a WRC car. “The Acropolis is one of the most famous rallies and was hard work this year due to the changing weather. We achieved the maximum with our Fabia S2000. The rally with its long days was also a real challenge for our team and I can only thanks and congratulate the crew for its performance.”
For Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene their Greek debut ended early: the Norwegian duo had to retire due to damaged suspension after the 18th stage while running in tenth place. “On the one hand I’m very satisfied, and on the other somewhat disappointed,” summarised the 22-year old Mikkelsen. “We were able to collect experience on the stages which were completely new to us and also see that we could essentially maintain the pace of our team mates. On the other hand there is our late retirement: I misunderstood a statement for Ola and went into a corner too quickly. When I noticed I braked, but sideswiped a rock and damaged the left rear suspension.”