All about Ogier: Volkswagen has increased its lead on the third day of competition at the Rally Mexico. After 314.47 of the 394.88 kilometres against the clock, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (F/F) now lead Mikko Hirvonen (Citroën) by 3:32.4 minutes. The duo continued to impress at the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The Frenchmen have dominated the first three days of the rally, winning 14 of the 20 stages and claiming 17 top-three results.
Their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) rejoined the Rally Mexico on day three, due to Rally 2 regulation, and took the opportunity to gain valuable experience with the Polo R WRC under competitive conditions. Latvala’s record on the third day: five of seven possible top-three results.
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7 “It was a good feeling to be back in action, after we were so unlucky in the first few metres yesterday. I coped excellently and feel really comfortable now in the Polo. I have adapted my driving style a little and am trying to drive even more accurately. As we are no longer able to affect the overall standings, we are using Mexico to prepare for the remaining gravel rallies, and have tried out various components and set-ups. In order to avoid spending the entire day out at the front and driving on loose gravel, we deliberately dropped down the starting order for the second stage of the day, although we knew we would have to accept a time penalty.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8 “That was an extremely good day for us. And we had a little shot of adrenalin at the end, when we suddenly had to slam on the brakes during a special stage to avoid hitting a closed gate. I hope we will be credited with the time we lost when the stewards have studied the footage from the on-board camera. I feel sorry for Mads (Østberg) after his retirement, as he had performed very well up until then and was our closest rival. However, that has obviously given us a more comfortable lead over the car in second. Although we did not take any risks today, we still won six of the seven special stages. To be honest, even I was surprised by that! Having said that, the Polo R WRC is simply perfect at the moment. There’s still one day to go, and tomorrow morning we have the longest and most difficult stage on the rally, so we must keep our concentration.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director “A really excellent day for Volkswagen here in Mexico. Every cog is fitting perfectly into place within the team – like clockwork. The two drivers also did their bit. Sébastien Ogier has been in a league of his own here in Mexico, and produced another fantastic performance. He found a perfect rhythm and we will not attempt to rein him in tomorrow, but will let him continue at his own speed. Jari-Matti Latvala also deserves great respect, having returned to the rally in style after crashing out early on yesterday. A series of impressive times showed that he is more than capable of matching Sébastien. He also spent today testing components for the forthcoming gravel rallies under competitive conditions for us, and took the opportunity to continue adapting to the Polo R WRC, which is still new to him. All in all, you cannot ask for more from one day at a rally.”
And then there was ...
... “The Mysterious Incident of the Closed Gate” for Sébastien Ogier. The only thing that could stop the Frenchman on the third day in Mexico was a closed gate at kilometre 32 of the 18th stage, “Otates 2”. Ogier had to implement an emergency stop from full rally speed. His co-driver Julien Ingrassia then had to leap out of the car and open the gate before the two Frenchmen could continue on their way. Despite losing about 37 seconds, Ogier’s time was still good enough to finish sixth fastest on the stage.