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WRC’s sensational Sebastien Ogier wins Rally Italy for Volkswagen thanks to ‘tyre friendly driving style’, as Mikkelsen has ‘slip up’

Ref:A0466
Published: 24 June 2013


ogier wins italian rally


At the halfway point of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Volkswagen dominates the proceedings with its fifth win in seven rallies – thanks to the speed of Sebastien Ogier. 


The Volkswagen team has also comfortably extended its lead in what is deemed to be the most prestigious motorsport world championship after Formula 1. 


Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia won the rally in Sardinia in their Polo R WRC with a lead of 1m 16.8s over their closest competitor, Thierry Neuville (Ford). 


ogier wins italian rally


The two Frenchmen have therefore extended their lead in the driver/co-driver rankings to 64 points. Their Volkswagen team colleagues Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) demonstrated an impressive final spurt to likewise make it onto the podium, finishing in third place, in spite of having dropped back to twelfth place due to a flat tyre during the first stage. 


This puts the two Finns in second place in the driver/co-driver world championship rankings. They also played a major part in enabling Volkswagen’s 315 hp four-wheel drives to further extend the car make’s lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship.


ogier wins italian rally


An ecstatic Sebastien Ogier said: “It feels fantastic to be back on top of the podium again! I was really beginning to miss that feeling after the last two rallies. I’m simply delighted – the team did a fantastic job and the Polo ran like a dream all weekend. We now have a very comfortable lead in the Drivers’ Championship rankings. The rally was incredibly demanding physically, due to the high temperatures, and it sometimes got as hot as 45 degrees in the cockpit. 


“On the second day in particular, you came close to your limits and you easily lost three to four litres of fluid. So I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to our team members who look after us and to the physiotherapy team, who did a great job of taking care of us. The heat really takes it out on the tyres and the car too. 


ogier wins italian rally


“My tyre-friendly driving style was no doubt one of the reasons for my victory. I was especially pleased to once again win the Power Stage. I had a tough fight on my hands there with Thierry Neuville, who was incredibly fast during that stage, as he was throughout the rally.”


Andreas Mikkelsen, who celebrated his 24th birthday on the Saturday of the rally in Sardinia, again missed out on a good result together with his co-driver Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) – on the third from last stage of the rally, they were instructed by the team to take all available risks in order to secure fourth place overall, but a slip-up then cost them this ranking. Mikkelsen/Markkula veered off the track on a slow corner and caused only light damage to the suspension – but then had to retire from the rally early.


ogier wins italian rally


“I’m extremely disappointed, of course, because we got off to a very good start in Rally Italy and I think we put in a good performance,” explained an upset Andreas Mikkelsen. “That is, until our slip-up today. We wanted to go in for the kill and clinch fourth place. In the afternoon session, I had already made good eight seconds on Dani Sordo in the first of the four remaining stages. I only needed around twelve more seconds to pass him, so we went for broke in the following stage too. 


“But then I braked too late on a slow corner and we slid and hit a tree stump, which tore off our tie rod. So that was the end of that. I had hoped for a slightly different outcome on my birthday. But I think we were again able to gain a lot of important experience during this rally.”


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