Volkswagen Leading FIA World Rally Championship after Argentina
It was a fantastic win under less-than-ideal circumstances for Volkswagen in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
In extremely difficult external conditions, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) celebrated a hard-fought one-two victory in the Polo R WRC at the Rally Argentina. Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) completed the German factory team’s triumph by claiming fourth place. Crowds of enthusiastic fans lined the route of SS 14, holding their breath as Latvala and Ogier repeatedly fought it out to win the fifth round of the season. Mikkelsen also helped to make the event a resounding success for Volkswagen by doggedly working his way up the leader board. Taking first and second place further extends Volkswagen’s lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Following the Rally Argentina, the three Volkswagen duos are now also at the top of the table in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship. The event marked Jari-Matti Latvala’s tenth win in the World Rally Championship and his third in Volkswagen’s colors. Ogier commented on conditions:
The conditions at this Rally Argentina were the most difficult ones I’ve experienced for a long time. The road conditions were incredibly tough on the drivers and the cars … Julien and I gave our all throughout the weekend, but especially at the end the gravel tracks were so slippery and muddy that our only objective was to make it across the line. Mastering ‘El Condor’ in particular was a real adventure. Nevertheless, it’s always overwhelming to tackle the stage in front of so many frenetic fans. I’m looking forward to next year, when I’ll have another go at making it to the top of the podium in Argentina.
A Thrilling Fight to the Finish
Right from the word go, spectators were treated to a thrilling duel for first place in Argentina – despite punishing external conditions. The current World Champions, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, got off to the better start, claiming the first two Special Stages. Then Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila launched their counterattack during the rally’s longest stage. The pair took the overall lead by putting in the best time on the “Ascochinga–Agua de Oro” section, which is almost 52 kilometers long. Before the first day’s rallying had finished, first place changed hands twice more between Latvala and Ogier. Latvala dominated on Saturday and Sunday, gaining the upper hand in the duel with eight wins to Ogier’s one over the two days. Following five of the season’s 13 rallies, the battle between Ogier and Latvala is also dominating the battle for the WRC title. With his win, Latvala closed the gap in the World Championship standings to 24 points.
Bad Luck on Day One