VW Team Ahead Of Rally Portugal

VW’s Driver quotes ahead of Rally Portugal, issued by Volkswagen Motorsport:

Ogier VW

Photo:D.Darrall

Sébastien Ogier who currently leads WRC drivers standings after his 2 wins & 2nd place on the 3 previous rounds on WRC: “I’m feeling much better now, after illness left me feeling below par last week. Withdrawing from the Fafe Rally Sprint was a very tough decision, especially given all the enthusiastic fans. However, it was the right decision in order to allow me to recover fully.”

“We saw at the Rally Mexico that the Polo R WRC is also competitive on gravel, and that is important. The coming rally in Portugal is another good indication of where we stand, and will be particularly interesting because those will be the kind of conditions we will come up against most often in the World Rally Championship: hard gravel and stages not much above sea level. However, the Rally Portugal has two sides to it. When it is dry there, the ground is very hard and offers a lot of grip. However, when it is wet, the ground becomes very soft and muddy and only offers a very limited amount of grip. We discovered that last year – and it is not particularly fun driving there in those conditions. I much prefer it to be dry. A feature of the special stages in Portugal are the many crests and jumps, which are often followed by quick, blind corners.”

“I am confident that we will follow on from our excellent recent performances in Portugal, as I really like the rally. It is one of my favourite rallies. In 2010 it was the scene of my first victory in the World Rally Championship, and I won again there in 2011. That makes it the only WRC rally that I have won twice in my career – so far.”

Photo:D.Darrall

Photo:D.Darrall

Jari-Matti Latvala: “I have often been quick in Portugal, but my best result so far is the third place I achieved in 2011. I hope I manage to come through clean this year and challenge for a place on the podium. The Polo R WRC certainly has the potential. Sébastien’s victories in Sweden and Mexico have shown that.”

“The first three rounds of the world championship were a bit difficult for me. Unfortunately, not everything went entirely to plan. I just needed time to get used to the car. However, I had the necessary trust in the car on the Power Stage in Mexico – and that good feeling got even stronger during the tests in Portugal. The Rally Portugal is known for its ‘blind crests’, which are really rather special. You really have to be alert as you approach these crests, as you cannot see whether they are followed by a left-hander or a right-hander. For this reason, it is also important to be very accurate during the Recce in the run-up to the rally, to ensure that the pace notes cannot be misunderstood in any way.”

Photo:D.Darrall

Photo:D.Darrall

Andreas Mikkelsen making his début in the Polo R WRC in a WRC event: “I can hardly wait for the start of the Rally Portugal. It will be my first rally with the Polo R WRC, although I did have a number of outings with Volkswagen last year and have already been completely integrated in the team. As such, the only thing that is really new to me is the element of competing in a current World Rally Car.”

“After two successful years in the IRC, I feel ready to take the step up into the World Rally Championship. In my opinion, the Rally Portugal is one of the most difficult on the race calendar. There are a lot of ‘blind’ passages and relatively little grip. The last time I drove there was back in 2007, so it will practically be a new event for me. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in the Recce last year. As such, I have some idea of what to expect. Despite this, it will certainly be one of the most difficult rallies of the year for me.”

“It will be important not to make any mistakes and to avoid any incidents. We want to finish the race and learn as much as possible. After that, we can concentrate on getting quicker at the subsequent rallies.”

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