New Polo R WRC makes strong debut in FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
Mud, rain – slippery conditions in “free practice” at the Rally Monte Carlo
Ogier best Volkswagen driver in third place, Mikkelsen fourth, Latvala eleventh
That’s the “Monte” – the shakedown at the Rally Monte Carlo gave the Volkswagen drivers a good idea of what to expect in the next four days at the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) classic. In the “free practice” at the opener, adverse conditions and the starting position determined the result of the 3.52-kilometre special stage, south of Gap (France). The first to start had the best conditions since more and more mud was shovelled onto the track with each competitor that took to it. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) completed the shakedown in the new Polo R WRC with the third-fastest time, Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) with the fourth-fastest. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) finished the first show of strength at the “Monte” in eleventh. The real rally action gets underway on Thursday evening after the ceremonial start in Monaco, with the first two special stages at 20:21 and 21:29 local time.
Quotes from the shakedown at the Rally Monte Carlo
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“In my opinion, the Rally Monte Carlo is the most difficult and challenging rally of the year. Snow, rain, ice, dry asphalt – you get a real mixed bag of conditions here and never know what’s around the corner. And on top of that the car is new. The conditions at the shakedown weren’t the best today. It got very muddy very quickly, making it very slippery. Despite all that we were able to improve the tuning of the Polo R WRC. I’m looking forward to the rally starting properly on Thursday. Then we’ll see how we measure up against our rivals.”