Part two of the World Champions’ story: Volkswagen has won the manufacturers’ title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with an outstanding one-two victory at the Rally Spain. That means all the WRC titles* for 2013 will go to the car maker from Wolfsburg. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) claimed the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ crown three weeks ago at the Rally France. The French duo went on to score an impressive win – their eighth this season – ahead of their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) at the “Rally de España”. As a result, Volkswagen has an unassailable lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship with one round still to go this season. Winning three titles in its debut year with the Polo R WRC is Volkswagen’s greatest motorsport achievement to date.
Title wins that will go down in history – Volkswagen’s debut
Volkswagen’s achievements in the 2013 WRC season are unparalleled. The German team clinched all of the titles in the top category of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in its debut year – the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship and the manufacturers’ trophy. No other manufacturer has managed to win a World Championship in its first year since the World Rally Championship began. Even in the history of Formula 1, no car maker has yet taken the title in its opening season. Volkswagen’s performance has exceeded all expectations. Originally, it was considered to have set itself ambitious goals by aiming for podium finishes in year one, round wins in the second year and championship titles in its third year.
Volkswagen drivers shine in extreme conditions
On its last day, the Rally Spain turned into a real showdown between the Volkswagen pairings Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila. Following a puncture on day two, Ogier started the final 138.54 kilometres on gravel fourth overall, with Latvala in the lead. On the third and final day, the Volkswagen duos rose to the different challenges they faced. While Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila opened the road on the concluding gravel stages of the Rally Spain, forcing them to clean the optimum line for the cars behind them, Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia faced another problem. The new World Rally Champions* tackled the course fourth in a cloud of dust thrown up by their toughest rivals as they fought to win the round. This obviously didn’t slow down the season’s dominant duo too much: Ogier/Ingrassia put in best times on four of the six Special Stages on Sunday alone, plus two more top-three times. Only one other driver/co-driver pairing really shone on Sunday: Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula recorded two best times in the third Polo R WRC.
The all-rounder: 13 of 15 best stage times go to the Polo R WRC
The Rally Spain was the only round in this season’s WRC series to cover both asphalt and gravel. The Volkswagen Polo R WRC proved to be a great all-rounder in these unique conditions: 13 of 15 best stage times and 26 of 45 possible top-three times went to the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg. The all-wheel-drive triumphed seven times on the nine asphalt stages and on all six gravel sections. Since the Polo R WRC first lined up in the WRC at the Rally Monte Carlo, it has racked up 132 of the 215 possible best stage times – that’s 61.4 per cent. Sébastien Ogier has put in 101 best stage times single-handedly so far this year.
* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.