Impressive start in Sweden: Volkswagen tops qualifying

Perfect start for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia: the Volkswagen works pairing from France clocked the fastest time (1:51.30 minutes) in their Polo R WRC to win qualifying at the Rally Sweden. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) followed 2.7 seconds back in sixth place at the opening exchange of the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – a short, four-kilometre, snow-covered stage. This result gives both crews a good choice of starting position for the Friday of the rally in Sweden – the best drivers in qualifying get to choose their start position first.

The Rally Sweden gets underway with a spectator stage in Karlstad on Thursday evening, in which pairs of World Rally Cars go head to head in direct duels. Friday’s schedule features some of truly classic “Sweden” stages, including the iconic “Vargåsen”, with the drivers starting in the order selected post qualifying. That special “Sweden” feeling is embodied by “Colin’s Crest”, with the cars jumping up to 40 metres over the infamous crest. By Sunday the teams will have completed 338.91 timed kilometres over the course of 22 special stages. In total, the cars will cover 1,589.78 kilometres in Sweden and neighbouring Norway.

Quotes, Day One of the Rally Sweden

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The drivers are very happy with the WRC Polo today after free practice and qualifying, and go into the next few days full of motivation. The result of the short qualifying stage is good, and we have almost a free choice of starting position for both cars for the first ‘real’ day of rallying tomorrow. We could hardly have got off to a better start in Sweden.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“I am very happy with the way the free practice and qualifying panned out. I had a good feeling of the way the car was handling. Apart from one short moment, it was a really good qualifying for me. The motor died briefly at the start, but after that I got through the stage cleanly. As such, I was surprised how good the time was in the end. I expect consistent conditions on the special stages, with a lot of the surface being ice. In that situation, it is important not to have to open the stage, as loose snow on the ice could ultimately cost you time.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“A good start to the Rally Sweden. I am extremely happy, as that was an ideal drive in qualifying. The car set-up is also right, so we will not have to make any major changes there. It is important to get the right tactic when selecting your starting position here in Sweden. As the top car in qualifying, I now have a free choice, which gives me a small advantage. My goal remains a place on the podium. I really like the Rally Sweden: drifting through icy corners at over 150 kilometres per hour is huge fun. However, it also means the rally is anything but a stroll in the park.”

And then there was …

… the analysis of data recordings from Jari-Matti Latvala’s Polo R WRC after qualifying. The Finn dropped 2.7 seconds on his Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier on the four-kilometre stage. Analysis of data from the car showed that he lost 2.6 seconds of that time at the start, when Latvala’s engine stalled.

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Sweden – TV broadcast

Western Europe
Andorra (Canal +); Austria (, ORF, ServusTV); Belgium (RTBF); Denmark (VIASAT); Finland (MTV3, YLE Sport); France (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21, TF1); Germany (Sport1, RTL, n-tv,, ServusTV); Greece (OTE); Italy (RAI, Canale Italia, Sportitalia); Monaco (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21, TF1); Netherlands (RTL 7); Norway (VIASAT); Ireland (Setanta); Portugal (Sport TV, RTP); Spain (Canal +); Sweden (SVT); Wales (S4C)

Eastern Europe
Czech Republic (Czech TV, Sport 5); Poland (TVP); Romania (Dolce Sport); Russia (Auto Plus); Slovakia (Czech TV, Sport 5); Ukraine (First Automotive Channel)

Asia Pacific
Malaysia (Astro); Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam (ESPN Star); Japan (J Sports); New Zealand (Sky Sports); Australia (Speed TV); Thailand (Truevision)

North and Latin America
Argentina (Channel 12); Brazil (ESPN); Latin America (Fox Sports)

Worldwide (Reuters, SNTV)

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