World champion Sebastian Loeb of Citroen is the winner of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championships held at Monte Carlo. The runner up, Sébastien Ogier with his all new Volkswagen Polo R WRC too has made headlines.
This 29 year old French rally driver has taken the Polo R WRC to the lead coming in second place. In third place was Dani Sordo, returning to Citroen following two seasons with MINI. MINI pulled out of the championships at the end of 2012. Volkswagen Polo R WRC rally car has made its debut in motorsports following over 15000 miles of testing and development from scratch of over 1700 parts. For Volkswagen, these efforts paid off in their team not just finishing the rally but coming in second with driver Sebastien Ogier together with his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
Volkswagen’s other car with Jari-Matti Latvala at the wheel with co-driver Miikka Anttila had to retire from the race after crashing in the first mile itself. This resulted in the vehicle losing traction in some snow covered regions at Col de Turini stage.
After the race, Ex Ford SVT boss Jost Capito who is now Volkswagen Motorsport Director commented, “Second place in the first rally of the new Polo R WRC is more than we could have expected. The Rally Monte Carlo is the most complex event in the calendar and the team has here shown that they are ready for the World Rally Championship.”
“There was no mistake, not the slightest problem. One cannot value the performance of Sébastien Ogier highly enough. He drove the ‘Monte’ in a World Rally Car for the first time. There is no other rally in which the driver’s impact on the result is bigger. That is why we will not see where we stand with the Polo R WRC until after the upcoming event,” he added.
VW Team driver Sébastien Ogier said: “I never was as happy about a second place as I was today. To reach the podium in our debut with the Polo R WRC is just great. These were probably the most difficult conditions in a Rally Monte Carlo I have ever experienced. Especially today, during the first run to the Col de Turini, it was extremely slippery, so that speeds of more than 20 kph were not possible. It was just about keeping the car on the road.”
The German brand’s second driver Jari-Matti Latvala abandoned the race after crashing out in the opening kilometer of the stage. “I am very disappointed,” said Latvala. “There was more wet snow in the first run through the Col de Turini stage than I expected. I was too fast right in the beginning, the car did not turn as expected, and I crashed heavily. Another car had slipped there before I did and I hit the same lane. There was nothing I could do. It was my goal to gather lots of experience with the Polo R WRC. It is bitter to end the rally this way. I am sorry for the guys because they prepared the cars brilliantly. I really wanted to give them a points result.”