Rally Poland.

30 June – 03 July 2016

 

Red-hot coverage, exclusive background reports, interviews, the latest photos – simply everything on the 2016 Rally Poland. You are always up to date here.

Timetable

 

Note: All times in the timetable are given in CEST (as of: 16/05/2016).

Thursday, 30/06/2016

Time SS Name Liaison SS km Liaison
08:00   Shakedown (Lubiewo)      
18:45   Official start (Mikołajki)      
19:08 SS 01 Mikołajki Arena 1 01.03 km 02.50 km 00.85 km

Friday, 01/07/2016

Time SS Name Liaison SS km Liaison
07:15 SS 02 Chmielewo 1 15.27 km 06.52 km  
09:00 SS 03 Wieliczki 1 86.68 km 17.30 km  
10:10 SS 04 Swietajno 1 38.09 km 21.14 km  
10:55 SS 05 Stare Juchy 1 14.79 km 13.50 km 87.42 km
13:55 SS 06 Chmielewo 2 15.27 km 06.52 km  
15:40 SS 07 Wieliczki 2 86.68 km 17.30 km  
16:50 SS 08 Swietajno 2 38.09 km 21.14 km  
17:35 SS 09 Stare Juchy 2 14.79 km 13.50 km  
19:28 SS 10 Mikołajki Arena 2 86.72 km 02.50 km 00.85 km

Saturday, 02/07/2016

Time SS Name Liaison SS km Liaison
09:55 SS 11 Gołdap 1 118.13 km 14.75 km  
11:25 SS 12 Stańczyki 1 49.53 km 25.27 km  
12:15 SS 13 Babki 1 23.05 km 21.02 km 22.22 km
14:50 SS 14 Stańczyki 2 37.07 km 25.27 km  
15:40 SS 15 Babki 2 23.05 km 21.02 km  
16:50 SS 16 Gołdap 2 24.48 km 14.75 km  
19:08 SS 17 Mikołajki Arena 3 101.73 km 02.50 km 00.85 km

Sunday, 03/07/2016

Time SS Name Liaison SS km Liaison
08:20 SS 18 Baranowo 1 15.02 km 21.25 km  
09:08 SS 19 Sady 1 06.15 km 08.55 km 03.43 km
10:50 SS 20 Baranowo 2 15.02 km 21.25 km 10.61 km
12:08 SS 21 Sady 2 04.88 km 08.55 km 03.43 km

Sunday, 03/07/2016


An extra portion of courage: Mikkelsen claims second WRC win in Poland, Ogier and Volkswagen lead championship at halfway point. The video.


Best images of the day (5)


Final report

Mikkelsen takes victory in crazy finale!

 

He never gave up, battled right through to the finish – and was ultimately rewarded for his efforts. At the end of three days that were as demanding as they were exciting, Andreas Mikkelsen clinched victory at the Rally Poland – the second win of his career. As with his first success in Spain in 2015, the script could hardly have been more dramatic or tense.

 

Let’s be honest: up until the 20th special stage it looked for all the world as though Ott Tänak (Ford) would take his first win. The Estonian had taken full advantage of his late starting position on the previous days, had driven a flawless rally, and held a lead of about 20 seconds. Victory seemed his for the taking.

 

And then? The drama came on the penultimate stage. Puncture, lost time – new leader. Tänak lost about 40 seconds to his closest rival – the dream of winning the rally was left in tatters. When the Estonian reached the finish in second place, he was greeted by Sébastien Ogier and a number of other drivers, who raised him into the air. A grand gesture, but probably little consolation at the time for Tänak.

 

And so it was that Mikkelsen found himself on the top step of the podium for the second time in his career – thanks to a fantastic drive and a great attitude. Even when overall victory looked a distant hope at the end of day two, the Norwegian still didn’t stop fighting. As in his first victory at the 2015 Rally Spain, he was rewarded for his efforts.

 

Sébastien Ogier would have loved to have been up there fighting for the win. However, it was business as usual for the Frenchman. The three-time world champion once again battled for every metre and every second – once again his fighting spirit went unrewarded. The starting order was the critical factor for the first two days in Poland and denied the Frenchman any chance of winning. Give up? Not the champ. When the starting order was reversed on Sunday, the Frenchman showed emphatically why he is the owner of three world championship titles, winning the Power Stage and keeping the fans on the edge of their seats in a captivating duel for fifth place with Jari-Matti Latvala – with the Finn coming out on top. 

 

The Rally Poland also came to a decent end for Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn had struggled in vain to find the right feel for the fast routes on Thursday and Friday, but eventually found his rhythm. Latvala also picked up a stage win in the end. He was among the fastest drivers again on Sunday, giving him a nice confidence boost for his home rally in Finland. 


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“What a fantastic end to a crazy rally”

 

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“Congratulations to Andreas and Anders, who did a good job all rally. But respect also to the performance of Ott Tänak. As always in Poland, he was really quick. At the end of the Power Stage I tried to console him a little. It really hurts when you come so close to your first win in the World Rally Championship. It was a tough weekend for Julien and me, so I am glad that we at least managed to pick up a few points towards the overall standings. The conditions were really slippery today, the toughest they’ve been for a long time. It was all about getting the Polo home in one piece. I am now looking forward to returning home to my wife and son. I have received so many presents for Tim that I might have to buy an extra suitcase.”

 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“First of all, congratulations to my team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. He drove a fantastic rally. It is obviously bitter for Ott Tänak to lose first place with so little of the rally remaining, but that is the ruthless nature of our sport. For me, today was the best day of the Rally Poland. Unfortunately, I found my rhythm far too late. Despite this, the good times on the special stages and second place on the Power Stage are a decent way to finish the rally and earned some valuable points in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Next up is the Rally Finland – my home race and the highlight of the year. I am really looking forward to it and will prepare as well as possibly for it.”

 

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“What a fantastic end to a crazy rally. We gave it everything we could, right from the word go. That was the only way we could compensate for having to take to the route so early. We knew that we could still get another chance to challenge for the win in today’s unpredictable conditions. When that chance came along, we took it. To win the rally is simply fantastic, as it is the first win together with my co-driver Anders Jæger. We are friends and have been through so much together. This here is very special. However, I feel for Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder, who were denied victory by a puncture so close to the finish. I experienced similar in Sweden last year.” 

 

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger can be proud of their performance. They fought courageously, never gave up, and deserved to win. The late set-back is obviously a great shame for Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder. They would also have fully deserved to win. We have great respect for their effort – I am sure that their time will come in the World Rally Championship. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia also performed brilliantly, although this was not reflected in the result due to the expected time loss they suffered as the first car on the road. They were far better than their result suggests. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila battled back after a disappointing start to the rally. All in all, we are happy with the performance of the entire team. The whole troop worked flawlessly and fought for every millimetre.”


Final classification after 21 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Time / Diff 1st
1 A. Mikkelsen / A. Jæger 2h 37m 34.4s
2 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +26.2s
3 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +28.5s
4 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +29.3s
5 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +33.8s
6 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +40.3s
7 C. Breen / S. Martin +2m 01.4s
8 M. Østberg / O. Fløene +3m 04.6s
9 E. Camilli / B. Veillas +5m 23.1s
10 T. Suninen / M. Markkula +5m 53.3s

Number of the day

106.16

 

The Rally Poland is one of the fastest rallies on the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar and formed the start of the high-speed phase of the series, which continues with the Rally Finland (28.–31.07.2016). In 2016, the average speed was 106.16 kilometres per hour. And that despite the traditionally slow spectator stages and raining stages on Sunday significantly lowering the average speed of the rally.


Day 3 in Poland.


Saturday, 02/07/2016


Best images of the day (10)


Day report

Mikkelsen fighting for the win – Ogier and Latvala for points.

 

Five becomes three:  while the rally world was astonished by a thrilling five-way battle on Friday, the number of serious contenders for victory in Poland was whittled down to just three on day two. Ott Tänak (Ford, EST), Hayden Paddon (Hyundai, NZL) and Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen will all have legitimate hopes of taking overall victories going into the final day.

 

Tänak and Mikkelsen had been embroiled in a fierce battle for the lead on Friday, and this duel was to continue into day two of the Rally Poland – with the Estonian coming out on top. Tänak knew he had to take advantage of starting the special stages lower down the order, and did so by winning all three of the morning’s stages.

 

Mikkelsen’s response came in the afternoon: victory on stage 14, second-fastest on stage 15, the Norwegian was gaining second after second until, on the penultimate stage of the day, he pushed a little too hard, made a mistake and lost time at a crossroads.

 

By the end of day two, the deficit on the time monitor was 21.3 seconds. The Norwegian goes into the final day in second place with everything still possible. However, Mikkelsen will also be looking over his shoulder a little, as third-placed Paddon proved to be a stubborn opponent on day two. The Australian trails AM by just 6.5 seconds.

 

The other two Volkswagen drivers are unlikely to be in the mix come the end of the rally, but they have both put on a good show. Once again, Ogier was hindered by the starting order in the morning. Once again, the champion was forced to take on the role of road-sweeper for the other drivers. A disadvantage that had repercussions in terms of time and position. Ogier lies sixth going into Sunday and will be fighting hard to pick up valuable world championship points. His main rival for fifth place is one of his own team-mates.

 

While Jari-Matti Latvala struggled to get a feel for the route on the opening day, he appears to have rediscovered his rhythm somewhere between the Polish fields and lakes. “JML” was the fastest man on the penultimate special stage and finds himself fifth with one day remaining, 21.0 seconds behind Thierry Neuville (Hyundai, B) and 3.6 seconds ahead of Ogier.

 

Four special stages remain on Sunday, with a total distance of 59.6 kilometres against the clock. If forecasts are to be believed, rain is on its way. The many Polish fans can look forward to a thrilling battle for overall victory, before three ultimately becomes one.


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“We want to win, even if it is going to be tough.“

 

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“Another day of nice, super-quick stages at the Rally Poland. However, for me in the role of ‘road-sweeper’ it was one of the toughest days I’ve ever had. As such, it is hard to really enjoy driving at this pace. Julien and I were right on the limit, and even beyond on a few occasions. We actually had a few precarious moments. I am quite exhausted now, both from driving and from the high temperatures in the cockpit. We will give it our all right through to the finish – then see what happens.”

 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“Day two of the Rally Poland was definitely better than the opening day. The changes we made to the set-up of our Polo R WRC had the desired effect. That was confirmed not only by my feel for the car, but also the times. I still made a few mistakes here and there, and was not always able to match the pace of the leaders. On the whole, however, I still gained time on the cars behind me. At the end of the day, I actually won the 16th special stage. This will certainly not go down as my best rally, but it is not over yet and I will continue to do everything I can to end the rally on a positive note.”

 

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“Today was a really tough day at the Rally Poland – and we were on the limit the entire time. The starting positions mean there are effectively two rallies taking place. One for those opening the route, and another for those, for whom the route has been swept clean. We did everything we could today, really everything, to compensate for our disadvantage and pushed the route and the car to the very limit. A small mistake on my part cost us about five seconds, when we braked too late at a junction and skidded on too far. Apart from that, we could not have done any more today. However, there is no way we will be giving up: we will pull out all the stops again tomorrow. We want to win, even if it is going to be tough.”

 

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“All three Volkswagen crews gave it their all today, in order to remain well-placed in the battle for victory and positions – there can be no doubt about that. Opening the route was once again anything but an advantage. Unfortunately, Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and, above all, Andreas Mikkelsen have not been rewarded for their courageous performances. However, they will push hard again over the closing 60 kilometres tomorrow. Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder are putting in a great performance and deserve to lead the Rally Poland. However, they need to be aware of one thing: we have not yet written off our hopes of winning the Rally Poland.”


Classification after 17 of 21 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Time / Diff 1st
1 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder 2h 05m 37.2s
2 A. Mikkelsen / A. Jæger +21.3s
3 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +27.8s
4 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +43.5s
5 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +1m 04.5s
6 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +1m 08.1s
7 S. Lefebvre / G. Morau +1m 21.2s
8 C. Breen / S. Martin +1m 33.2s
9 E. Camilli / B. Veillas +2m 10.6s
10 M. Østberg / O. Fløene +2m 14.9s

Number of the day

521

 

As well as the scorching heat, the dust was also a defining aspect of the Saturday in Poland. This was certainly the case for Michael Ziegler who, as the so-called Parts Chief, is responsible for supplying spare parts. He changes the air filters in the three Polo R WRCs at each midday and evening service, as a precautionary measure. This is something he has done 521 times so far, since the world rally car from Wolfsburg made its debut at the Rally Monte Carlo in 2013. 


Midday report

Stage set for a real dust-up.

 

13 special stages have now been completed at the Rally Poland, and the action continues to be defined by two names in particular: Ott Tänak (Ford) and Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen. They have really made their mark on the full-throttle event in the Masuria region of Poland. While the shared stage wins on Friday, Tänak was the one setting the pace on Saturday morning. He wasted little time in claiming a hat-trick of stage wins on the Polish gravel.

 

Mikkelsen could do nothing to stop the Estonian, but hung onto second place overall. Another key factor in Poland is the difficult conditions out on the route. “We really did our very best, but unfortunately we were playing the role of road-sweeper, as there was so much dust on the ground,” said Mikkelsen. “The car feels good and, despite all the hindrances, things are not going too badly at all,” said the satisfied Norwegian.

 

Mikkelsen is the third driver onto the route on Saturday, following Dani Sordo (Hyundai) and team-mate Sébastien Ogier. The latter was visibly frustrated, as the world champion could do little to prevent his Polo R WRC from slipping and sliding on the dusty roads. “I am really driving on the limit. I cannot do any more than this,” said Ogier. “A few times I actually overstepped the mark and had a slight brush with the ditches at the side of the road.” Ogier is now pinning his hopes on the afternoon loop, when the fast roads ought to be a little cleaner. According to Mikkelsen, however, the route conditions could also deteriorate: “Small ruts have already started to form in the surface.” Hopefully the route will withstand the afternoon’s assault.

 

In the meantime, Jari-Matti Latvala is finding his feet. He climbed ahead of team-mate Ogier this morning and is now fifth. And that despite overshooting a junction. “My engine cut out and I had to restart it,” said Jari-Matti. “We lost a few seconds as a result. However, generally speaking the car feels better and I now have more confidence.” A further four special stages are scheduled for this afternoon: the three stages already tackled this morning and the spectacular Mikołajki Arena stage.

 

 

 

Overall standings after 13 of 21 special stages:

 

1 Ott Tänak (Hyundai) 1h 32m 46.5s

2  Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) +18.0s
3 Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +24.9s
4 Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) +40.3s
5 Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) +58.9s

6 Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) +59.1s


Day 2 in Poland.

Friday, 01/07/2016


Best images of the day (15)


Day report

High five! Mikkelsen and Ogier at the heart of a thrilling battle for the lead.

 

Five drivers at the head of the Rally Poland, all within just 20 seconds of each other! Sounds like a thriller, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Ott Tänak (Ford, EST), Hayden Paddon (Hyundai, NZL), Thierry Neuville (Hyundai, B), plus the two Volkswagen drivers Andreas Mikkelsen (N) and Sébastien Ogier (F) – five drivers in the lead roles, determined to make the Rally Poland a thriller – and with great success, so far.

 

The battle at the very top of the standings has been particularly exciting – and played out at high speeds. The duel that has cast its spell over thousands of Polish rally fans pits Mikkelsen against Tänak. No sooner had one driver fought his way into the lead, than the other countered. 0.3 seconds – a mere blink of an eye – is all that separated the pair after stage seven. Converted into distance, that is just 9.85 metres. Neither of the two drivers was able to pull clear over the subsequent three stages either. By the end of day one, Tänak’s lead over the Volkswagen driver was 4.2 seconds.

 

However, that was not the only excitement: a classic battle was also raging just behind the two leaders. 10.2 seconds off the lead in third place is Paddon, closely followed by Ogier in fourth place, a further 6.1 seconds back. The new father once again proved what a fighter he is, coping with the disadvantage of having to open the stages as only a world champion could. He also picked up a stage win at the end of the day. Just 16.3 seconds behind the leader, anything is possible for the Frenchman. Fifth place is currently occupied by the winner of the Rally Italy, Neuville, 20.4 seconds behind Tänak.

 

That leaves one man: Jari-Matti Latvala! As has been the case in the past, the Finn did not enjoy the perfect start to the Rally Poland. "JML" complained about the way the car felt, and also had to contend with a puncture at the very start of the day. 

Can we write him off then? You should never write off Latvala! The experienced Finn has shown many times in the past that he can improve over the course of a rally. Why not this time too? He trails the leader by 36.6 seconds – by no means unassailable. And his team-mates have shown that the Volkswagen Polo R WRC feels right at home in Poland. 

 

Tomorrow is the longest day of the rally for the drivers, with about 124 kilometres against the clock spread over seven stages. Let the next round of the five-way battle commence.


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“It was a real pleasure.“

 

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

 “I can give my fans the all-clear: being a new dad does not mean that I lift my foot off the gas pedal any more than I did before. On the contrary: as far as speed is concerned, we were at the limit almost without a break on the extremely fast stages here in Poland. On the one hand, that is great fun for the driver in the cockpit. However, with my starting position, it also makes it very difficult to make up a few seconds on the opposition. Despite this, I am happy with our performance. As always, Julien and I gave it our all. Only on the morning loop did we possibly give away a few tenths.”

 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“Today was a bit of a mixed bag for me. This morning I just could not find a good rhythm. That was reflected in the times. Then I also had a slow puncture on the fourth stage. We changed a few things on the set-up of the Polo R WRC during the midday service, and it went a bit better after that. However, I cannot be happy with today. Driver and car were simply not working as one today. At the same time, I will obviously not give up. Together with my team, we will work on a strategy for tomorrow, when we will push hard again.”

 

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“An exciting day with a great battle for the lead. This morning I felt extremely comfortable in the Polo. It was a real pleasure to tackle these fast and beautiful special stages. However, I was not 100 per cent happy with the set-up in the afternoon. Despite this, we put our foot down and tried not to lose any time or gift the opposition a tenth of a second. All in all, I am happy, as we got the maximum out of the day. We still have two challenging days ahead of us – and we are looking forward to them.”

 

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“A really exciting day in the World Rally Championship, with magnificent performances from Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier. They got the maximum out of the starting position and the conditions they were faced with. Andreas, in particular, produced a strong display and put on a fantastic show for the fans. The outcome of the rally is wide open. Like Andreas, Sébastien is right in contention. We still have eleven exciting special stages ahead of us over the next two days. Jari-Matti Latvala was not entirely happy today and did not find his rhythm. He was not one with the Polo. We will sit down with him to analyse why that may be, and to work on ensuring that he can challenge for a place on the podium here in Poland.”


Classification after 10 of 21 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Time / Diff 1st
1 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder 1h 01m 23.0s
2 A. Mikkelsen / A. Jæger +4.2s
3 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +10.2s
4 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +16.3s
5 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +20.4s
6 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +36.6s
7 S. Lefebvre / G. Moreau +39.4s
8 C. Breen / S. Martin +41.1s
9 E. Camilli / B. Veillas +58.6s
10 M. Østberg / O. Fløene +1m 06.7s

Numbers of the day

4 and 2

 

The “Wieliczki” special stage took on special significance in the recent history of the Rally Poland in 2014, as the average speed of 136.88 km/h represents the fastest special stage ever completed with the Polo R WRC. A record that stands to this day. It was also run in 2015 and 2016, but with different routes. Four of the six times the stage has featured, victory has gone to Andreas Mikkelsen – on the other two occasions, it was Ott Tänak who emerged victorious. Coincidentally, these are the very same two WRC drivers embroiled in a remarkable battle for the lead today in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC and the M-Sport-Ford Fiesta RS WRC. 


Midday report

Mikkelsen in full flow.

Andreas Mikkelsen loves fast rallies. The Norwegian likes nothing more than to fly over crests at high-speed and drift round corners equally fast. Mikkelsen has been having a ball so far at the Rally Poland, despite conditions that have been far from easy. The gravel roads around Mikołajki in Masuria are so bone-dry that they are already breaking up.

 

“The morning went very well for me, but it was not perfect. We could have gone even faster,” said Andreas after four of the opening day’s nine stages. These included probably the fastest, Wieliczki, which he won with an average speed of 115.63 km/h. Mikkelsen used every centimetre of the route and took the odd tuft of grass with him. Andreas pushing himself to the limit.

 

However, the opposition is hot on Mikkelsen’s heels – particularly Hayden Paddon (Hyundai), who trails the leader by just 2.6 seconds. Ott Tänak is also in the thick of it. The Ford driver is just six seconds behind Mikkelsen. 

 

Andreas’ team-mate Sébastien Ogier is currently fourth and struggling a little with his starting position. The roads in Poland are surprisingly slippery and must first be swept clean. “There is not really much I can do here,” said Seb. “We are doing our best.” The drivers return to the same stages in the afternoon loop, when the roads should be less dusty and thus offer more grip.

 

The third of the Volkswagen drivers is baffled. Jari-Matti Latvala arrived at the Rally Poland with great aspirations, but is already 20.1 seconds off the pace. The flying Finn usually likes fast rallies – think back to the incredible displays at his home rally in the last two years. However, “JML” is struggling to adapt to the conditions in Poland. “I just can’t get any feel for the car,” said Jari-Matti. “I don’t know what I am supposed to do.” Chin up, Jari. There is still a long way to go, with a further 16 special stages still to come.

 

 

 

Overall standings after 5 of 21 special stages:

 

1 Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) 30m 55.1s
2 Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +2.6s

3 Ott Tänak (Ford) +6.0s
4  Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) +9.3s
5 Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) +14.7s
6 Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) +20.1s


Day 1 in Poland.


Thursday, 30/06/2016


Best images of the day (10)


Day review

The high-speed games are underway.

 

Fasten your seatbelts, the full-throttle event is underway – successfully: with fast times, made in Wolfsburg. The Volkswagen Polo R WRC showed in the past two years that it feels right at home in Poland. Two outings, two wins, both courtesy of Sébastien Ogier – that is the Volkswagen team’s record so far in Poland. This year, the 318-hp world rally car seems well armed to do well again – at one of the fastest rallies on the calendar.

The Volkswagen trio impressed with first, second and sixth places in the morning’s Shakedown, the WRC’s “free practice“ – a good first impression, which was backed up in the evening. Andreas Mikkelsen, Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala finished second, fourth and fifth on the 2.50-kilometre spectator stage “Mikołajki Arena 1”.
 
The first step has been taken towards a successful rally – may the high-speed games continue. It only remains to be seen whether the weather will play ball, as it usually does in Poland. If weather forecasts are to be believed, there is a good chance of showers.


Classification after 1 of 21 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Time / Diff 1st
1 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul 1m 46.2s
2 A. Mikkelsen / A. Jæger +0.2s
3 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +0.3s
4 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +0.4s
5 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +0.7s
6 S. Lefebvre / G. Moreau +0.9s
7 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +1.1s
8 D. Sordo / M. Martí +1.5s
9 L. Bertelli / S. Scattolin +1.9s
10 K. Kruuda / M. Jarveoja +2.0s

Shakedown report

The Need for Speed – Volkswagen out in front in Shakedown.

 

Perfect preparation for the high-speed challenge ahead: Volkswagen started the Rally Poland with top times in the Shakedown. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) in the Polo R WRC set the fastest time ahead of the seventh round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Their team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (N/N) were second-fastest, just one tenth of a second off the leading time. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) ended the World Rally Championship’s equivalent of “free practice” in sixth place. The 3.6-kilometre route to the northwest of the service park in Mikołajki saw the world rally cars from Wolfsburg achieve an average speed of 134.58 km/h – and offered a genuine taste of things to come at the Rally Poland.

 

The Rally Poland kicks off the WRC speed weeks. The race in the Warmia-Masuria region of Poland and the Rally Finland in four weeks’ time are the fastest to events on the calendar. The Volkswagen Polo R WRC has so far contested five of these high-speed rounds, with the 318-hp four-wheel drive powerhouse from Wolfsburg winning all five.



 

Results shakedown: 

 

1 Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) 1m 36.3s

2 Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) 1m 36.4s
3 Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) 1m 36.5s

4 Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) 1m 36.6s

5 Dani Sordo (Hyundai) 1m 37.0s

6 Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) 1m 37.3s 


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“Julien and I are very well prepared.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“For me, this is the first rally as a new father. Perhaps that will give me an extra boost of motivation. Whatever happens, the Shakedown went very well for us. I feel very comfortable in the Polo. Julien and I are very well prepared. I really like the profile of the route at the Rally Poland: the quick stages are spectacular and it is incredible fun to drive on them. It is a challenging event, especially for the engine, because we have such long sections at full throttle. However, I trust our engineers 100 per cent, so I go into the race full of optimism.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“In principle, it was a good Shakedown and our Polo felt good. However, the times were not as quick as those of my rivals at first. For this reason, we tried out a few things with the set-up. The longer the Shakedown went on, the worse the conditions became out on the route. This was reflected in the times. It certainly showed how evenly matched the drivers are. The weather could also be a key factor at this rally. The main thing is to have a good feeling – and I have that.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The transition from the Rally Italy on Sardinia to the Rally Poland could not be greater. You really have to put your foot down, be brave, and drive very precisely here. The Shakedown was a superb preparation for what awaits us over the coming days. We wanted to do a few more kilometres today, to get used to the conditions. I think we managed that. It is fantastic to tackle these lovely gravel roads in Poland at rally speed.“

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Speed, speed, speed – that is the key at the Rally Poland, and the Shakedown was a good preparation for the main topic of the weekend. It may only have been short, but it was really quick, with an average speed of over 130 kilometres per hour. It was a good taste of things to come over the coming days, although the weather could be unsettled. That might suit us. Whatever happens, we are well prepared and looking forward to the Rally Poland.”


Opening day in Poland.

Wednesday, 29/06/2016


Rally Poland preview. The Video.

Tuesday, 28/06/2016


Preview

Full throttle through the summer.

Whether the summer will keep to its promises in terms of weather remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: it will be incredibly fast! Volkswagen will take on the two ultimate high-speed challenges of the year in the WRC in July. First up is the Rally Poland on the first weekend of July. Then comes the Rally Finland at the end of the month.

 

Both rallies are a contrast to the previous rally on Sardinia, which is one of the slowest on the calendar. There are several special stages in Poland that are in a class of their own, notably "Wieliczky", on which Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen set an impressive record in 2014. With an average speed of 136.88 kilometres per hour, he drove faster than any other driver in the Polo R WRC. The stages "Swietajno", "Stańczyki", "Babki" and "Baranowo" may not be quite as fast on average, but the speed is still above 120 km/h.

 

The fast stages with numerous jumps through the lake district of Masuria – which is also very similar to Finland – demand everything from man and machine. And they are not for scaredy-cats. You have to keep pedal to the metal in the ultra-fast turns to get a good time. Taking your foot off the gas there costs a lot of time. The drivers usually drift sideways through the fast turns. The WRC cars whip up a giant cloud of dust behind them, with stones sent flying through the air. It is amazing for the fans to watch. Rally legend Walter Röhrl would shed tears of pride: he once said almost philosophically that "good drivers have dead flies on the side windows".

 

World champion Sébastien Ogier, who is now also a father since last week (congratulations again on the birth of little Tim!), clearly set the pace the last two years in Poland and won ahead of team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, who was hot on his heels both times. Both drivers do very well on fast special stages like those in Poland. Seb Ogier once again has the "pleasure" of opening the stages on Friday and Saturday. However, this isn't as much of a disadvantage on the tracks around Mikołajki as it was at the recent rallies. The reason being that the surface in Poland is much harder than last time on Sardinia, for example. As such, there is no need to first sweep a soft layer of dust off the roads.

 

There is likely to be an Ogier vs. Mikkelsen duel, but we shouldn't disregard the third Volkswagen driver Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn also feels right at home in Poland. No wonder, since the rally is very much like his home rally in Finland's forests. And the "Flying Finn" has won that three times so far. However, Latvala has been unlucky in Poland so far. He hasn't managed to do better than two fifth places to date. Perhaps fortune will be on his side this time and "JML" will make the high-speed summer his summer. After all, he is pretty much unbeatable in Finland.


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“My new private situation gives me additional strength.“

 

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The Rally Poland is definitely an event that I really look forward to every year. A high-speed rally that is comparable with the one in Finland awaits us. I particularly like fast tracks since they really suit my driving style. I only have positive memories of Poland since we have been successful there the past two years. Compared with the Rally Italy, the gravel there is totally different, and won’t be quite as challenging for our car. Things are currently going really well for Julien and me in the World Rally Championship. Even though it’s been four rallies since our last win, we have consistently extended our lead in the championship, which means my confidence is high heading to Poland. Also my new situation in my private life gives me additional strength, I imagined that it would be wonderful to be a father, but I never thought it would be so overwhelming.”

 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Rally Poland reminds me of the one in Finland a little – the difference being that we drive through more open terrain and fields in Poland, and the surface is slightly softer. But in terms of speed, the two rallies are very similar, they are both the fastest on the entire calendar. I usually feel more at home on fast tracks, it suits my driving style. I think that the many fast passages make a higher starting number less of an advantage than at other rallies since the traction isn’t quite as crucial. I had trouble finding the right speed at the start of the Rally Poland the past two years. I want to improve that this time since I haven’t ever managed to finish on the podium in Poland. Second place in Italy fills me with renewed confidence. Now I want to work my way up the drivers’ championship, but the competition is very tough.”

 

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The special stages at the Rally Poland and very fast and fluid to drive – I like that and it suits me. To be able to get the maximum on fast sections, you need a well-balanced car and a lot of confidence. Some of the special stages are the same as last year. So Anders and I were able to use the 2015 videos as part of our preparation. The test in Poland gave us additional insights so that we are perfectly prepared. I finished second twice in Poland the past two years. Anders and I will be third to take to the track. Despite that, I hope that we will be able to fight for the top positions. My aim is to regain second place in the overall standings. And we also want to try and close the gap between us and Sébastien Ogier. That will be far from easy, but we will do our best and want to leave the Rally Poland with as many points as possible.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“After one of the slowest, now come by far the fastest rallies – it’s time to move up a gear in the world championship. Absolute driving precision and total concentration are the order of the day in Poland and Finland. Fractions of a second ultimately make the difference here. Our drivers showed that they can handle this well the last two years. But as a team, we are only in with a chance of success if we don’t make a single error. We are aware of that and everyone involved knows what needs to be done.”


Number for the Rally.

136.88

The top average speed ever achieved on a special stage with the Polo R WRC. Andreas Mikkelsen completed the Wieliczk stage in 2014 in an average speed of 136.88 km/h. The stage is back on the itinerary for 2016, albeit in a slightly different form.