Rally Australia.

10 – 13 September 2015.


Red-hot coverage, exclusive background reports, interviews, the latest photos – simply everything on the 2015 Rally Australia. You are always up to date here.



Note: All times in the timetable are local, UTC + 10h (as of: 04.09.2015).


Thursday, 10 September 2015

08:00   Shakedown, (Hydes Creek) 04.98 km  
16:00   Ceremonial start (Coffs Harbour)    

Friday, 11 September 2015

08:18 SS 01 Utungun I 07.88 km
08:41 SS 02 Bakers Creek I 16.75 km
09:29 SS 03 Northbank I 08.42 km
10:42 SS 04 Newry Long I 29.51 km
14:00 SS 05 Utungun II 07.88 km
14:23 SS 06 Bakers Creek II 16.75 km
14:56 SS 07 Northbank II 08.42 km
16:09 SS 08 Newry Long II 29.51 km

Saturday, 12 September 2015

10:18 SS 09 Nambucca I 50.80 km
12:08 SS 10 Valla I 07.94 km
15:41 SS 11 Nambucca II 50.80 km
18:10 SS 12 Valla II 07.94 km

Sunday, 13 September 2015

07:58 SS 13 Bucca Long I 21.95 km
09:08 SS 14 Wedding Bells I 09.23 km
09:39 SS 15 Settles Rd 06.40 km
11:42 SS 16 Bucca Long II 21.95 km
13:08 SS 17P Wedding Bells II 09.23 km
15:00   Podium ceremony (Coffs Harbour)  

Sunday, 13.09.2015

Images Day 3 (7)

Final report

Volkswagen is at it again!


World Champions! For the third time in a row! What a record! Since joining the WRC in 2013, Volkswagen has won everything there is to win in the World Rally Championship. The Wolfsburg-based company has once again won the titles in the Drivers‘, Co-Drivers‘ and Manufacturers‘ competitions. And in record time: after exactly 76.9 per cent of the season – the earliest any manufacturer has ever wrapped up all three titles. The tenth round of the season in Australia was once again won by Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, whose latest success was enough to see them crowned world champions for the third time.

“It has just been an incredible season,” said Ogier after the Power Stage – which he won to pick up three bonus points, by the way. “I think that was my best win so far. I didn’t make any mistakes. I have driven so many great rallies, but this here was probably my best.” A lot of superlatives in one statement, but there is no other way of summing up this achievement in words.

This was Ogier’s seventh win of the season at only the tenth rally. However, it was far from child’s play, even though the final result may look relatively clear-cut. Ogier had problems at the start of the rally, as the route was still extremely slippery on Friday. The hard gravel was covered by a layer of fine dust. By the time the World Rally Cars had swept that out of the way, the Frenchman had lost ground and found himself about 15 seconds off the lead at one point. But Ogier hit back in style. He leapfrogged ahead of Kris Meeke (Citroën) – who was enjoying one of his most impressive rallies – to move to the top of the overall standings on Saturday’s final stage.

Jari-Matti Latvala had to settle for second place Down Under, and matched that result on the Power Stage. “Seb was simply the better driver at this rally, so I will have to be happy with second place,” he said after the finish. “I didn’t make any mistakes all rally, but I just came up short of winning here.” Jari-Matti will cope with the slight disappointment and attack again at this season’s remaining rallies – there is no doubting that.

The third of the Volkswagen trio, Andreas Mikkelsen, finished an impressive fourth. He was unable to stop the flying Meeke from claiming the third spot on the podium, but did finish third on the Power Stage to claim the final bonus point. “I am happy with the rally,” said ‘Mikkel’. “I think we put on a good show.”

The Polo R WRC has been nothing short of impressive this year, proving once again to be the strongest car in the WRC field. The powerhouse from Wolfsburg has won 31 of the 36 rallies since making its debut in 2013. 467 stage wins in 668 special stages is an impressive for the 318-hp racer. In 2015, Volkswagen has so far won nine of the ten rallies with the Polo. And the season is still not over. Before the attention turns to the remaining three rounds of the WRC, however, it is time to celebrate. Cheers!

Final classification after 17 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Total Time / Diff 1st  
1 S. Ogier/J. Ingrassia 2h 59m 16.4s  
2 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +12.3s  
3 K. Meeke / P. Nagle +32.6s  
4 A. Mikkelsen / O. Fløene +38.5s  
5 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +55.0s  
6 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +1m 38.0s  
7 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +2m 08.3s  
8 D. Sordo / M. Martí +2m 15.2s  
9 E. Evans / D. Barritt +4m 33.7s  
10 N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel +11m 46.5s  

Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“The emotions are always overwhelming."

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“It is a fantastic feeling to be world champion again! I am overjoyed. The first World Championship title will obviously always be rather special, but the emotions are always overwhelming every time. It was an incredibly intense battle here in Australia. Because the gap to Kris and Jari-Matti was so small all weekend, I had no time at all to even think about the title. Even this morning I only had one approach: flat-out. I am now just really happy that Julien and I have won our third title with a victory. It will probably take a while for what we have achieved together with our fantastic team over the past three years to really sink in. The fact that we also won the Manufacturers’ title with the Volkswagen team is obviously the icing on the cake.”


Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“Winning all three titles here make this a fantastic day for the Volkswagen team. I am really happy to have done my bit towards this great success. I tried everything again today and kept on pushing right to the final stage, even with a cracked windscreen. Unfortunately we came up just short and I will have to settle for second place today. On the other hand, I have extended my advantage over third place in the overall standings. Congratulations to my team-mate Sébastien Ogier. He deservedly won the rally and is also a deserved world champion.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I am totally happy with our performance and had a really good rally. We did our very best right from the word go – in the end we had to ‘settle’ for fourth place. Based on the actual driving alone, we could even have finished third, as we more than made up the 8.8 seconds we trailed Kris Meeke by coming into the final 70 kilometres or so. However, we were handed a ten-second penalty for checking in too late ahead of the midday service on Sunday. That was too much for us to make up, although we had a really good attempt. It is a shame that we ultimately missed out on our seventh podium of the season by just 5.9 seconds – but we have strengthened our grip on third place in the World Championship. Looking back, I am generally happy with the Rally Australia and am looking forward to the remaining rallies in France, Spain and Great Britain.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“What a fantastic rally. What a dream result. And what a great achievement to have wrapped up all three titles so early in the season. The Volkswagen team excelled itself today. Our drivers and co-drivers had to pull out all the stops in order to finish on the podium here in Australia. Like the team behind them, they did a flawless job. You cannot be more proud of the entire team than I am today. It is always more difficult to defend a title than it is to win it for the first time. Defending it for a second time is an even greater challenge. The fact that our mechanics, engineers, drivers, co-drivers, physios and doctors, chefs and organisers have once again achieved superlative results and secured the WRC titles earlier in the season than ever before shows just what an extraordinary team we have. Everyone, without exception, is extremely motivated, and nobody ever takes success for granted. However, we certainly know how to celebrate – as we will prove today.”

Number of the day



31 wins from 36 rallies – with a win rate of 86 per cent, the Volkswagen Polo is by far the most successful model of car in the history of the World Rally Championship, ranking ahead of such legendary cars as the Lancia Stratos and Delta, Audi quattro, Ford Focus, Peugeot 206 and the Subaru Impreza. Volkswagen also reached more milestones with the Polo R WRC: since January 2013, 467 of a possible 668 stage wins have gone to the 318-hp four-wheel drive powerhouse. In 2013 and 2014, the Polo won twelve rallies in a row across the two seasons to set a WRC record for the longest winning run in the history of the series. The twelve victories in 2014 also saw Volkswagen set the benchmark for the number of race wins in one season – a record that only Volkswagen itself can equal in 2015.

Midday report

The pack of wolves.


It could go down as “Volkswagen Sunday”. Three titles and victory at the Rally Australia beckon. What do they need to do to make this possible? Well, the best way would be to finish with a one-two-three. However, it will take everything they have for Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen to pull it off. A showdown.


Kris Meeke is paying them plenty of respect: “They are like a pack of wolves,” said the Citroën driver, referring to his rivals in the Volkswagen camp. The race is on for victory and the places on the podium. Nobody is holding back. Full throttle for the top four. Sunday morning featured three stages Down Under, and plenty of fireworks from the “Vee Dubs” on their way to a hat-trick of stage wins. Three times the three Polo R WRCs came out on top – and three times it was Ogier followed by Latvala and Mikkelsen. Ogier leads, followed by Latvala – just 7.3 seconds back. In third place is Meeke – just 12.3 seconds further down the road. Mikkelsen, in fourth place, trails Meeke by just 4.2 seconds. It is going to be a real thriller and come right down to the wire. Volkswagen has a famous one-two-three in its sights, and the “wolves” are hungry for success.


"I want to win here,” said Sébastien Ogier. “But when Jari-Matti is flooring it like this, we have no choice but to push as hard as we can.” At stake is not only victory in Australia, but also the title. One Volkswagen duo is out to wrap up the title race with rallies to spare, the other to delay the seemingly inevitable at all costs. And with all that going on, it is worth noting that the one-two courtesy of Ogier and Latvala is more than enough to secure the Team title. 


As it stands, it looks like there could be one mighty big celebration. It could indeed be “Volkswagen Sunday”. Before then, however, the gladiators must still survive 21.95 kilometres of “Bucca Long” and 9.23 kilometres of “Wedding Bells”. This is not for the faint of heart. Keep it up Seb, Jari-Matti and Andreas.

Overall standings after SS 15:


1. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) 2h 41m 41.1s

2. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) +7.3s

3. Kris Meeke (Citroën) +19.6s

4. Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) +23.8s

5. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +42.2s

Day 3 in Australia.

Saturday, 12.09.2015

Rally Australia day 2. The video.

Images Day 2 (11)

Day Report

Lead after day 2: Ogier on course to win the title.


No one really caught a glimpse of him. It was only in the dazzling light around the finish line that Sébastien Ogier in his Polo R WRC suddenly appeared out of the pitch-black night that covered the twelfth special stage on Saturday evening. He had to wait for Citroën rival Kris Meeke, who was leading the rally up to that point, to reach the finish line. But then it was clear: Ogier leads the overall standings Down Under and has taken another important step towards defending his title.


With a flawless drive through the final stage on Saturday, held in total darkness, Ogier made up the 2.4 seconds deficit to Meeke and took the overall lead with an advantage of 0.3 seconds. Five stages covering 68.76 timed kilometres are scheduled for Sunday, before the tenth event of the 2015 WRC season comes to an end. If Ogier wins in Australia, he and his co-driver will be world champions and Volkswagen team champions for the third time.


But until that point Ogier's rivals will give it their all to try and postpone the title being decided. Meeke is only two blinks of an eye behind Ogier. Seb's team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala trails Meeke by just 2.3 seconds. And Volkswagen youngster Andreas Mikkelsen in fourth place is just 9.1 seconds behind Ogier. “Sunday will be an important day,” said Ogier. But he didn't mention the potential title win. The world champion knows that a rally isn't over until you have crossed the podium ramp.


Only one thing is certain: Everyone will get a clear view of the result at the 2015 Rally Australia. All four of Sunday's stages will be held in broad daylight.

Classification after 12 of 17 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Total Time / Diff 1st  
1 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia 2h 20m 51.8s  
2 K. Meeke / P. Nagle +0.3s  
3 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +2.6s  
4 A. Mikkelsen / O. Fløene +9.1s  
5 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +19.4s  
6 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +39.1s  
7 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +1m 03.9s  
8 D. Sordo / M. Martí +1m 10.2s  
9 E. Evans / D. Barritt +3m 15.1s  
10 N. Al-Attiyah / M. Baumel +8m 30.4s  

Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“I am not here to finish second.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I didn't think I would be in the lead after two days in these difficult conditions. Which means I am really happy with my starting position for the final day. The fact that Stéphane Lefebvre was the first car to start ahead of me definitely helped. On the second pass in particular I was able to follow his line. The good tyre selection in the morning with a mix of soft and hard tyres also helped. It looks good for our team in terms of the manufacturer's title. But Julien and I also want to win the drivers' and co-drivers' titles. We can do it if we cross the line ahead of Jari-Matti – and that is only guaranteed if we win. That's our aim for the final day. It will be exciting, that's for sure.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The gaps between the top four drivers are minimal after two days, meaning that everything comes down to Sunday. We have definitely given ourselves a good starting position to fight for the win at the Rally Australia tomorrow. After we even had the lead yesterday, today didn't go quite the way we would have liked. I couldn't find my rhythm on the long 'Nambucca' special stages. I had hoped for more there. However, we can be satisfied overall, tomorrow will be a real thriller. And I'm not here to finish second.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“On the whole, I closed the gap on the leaders and made up time. I had a good pace in the morning in particular. But I lost some of that again on the night stage. My headlights were set a little bit too low and that combined with the dust clouds in the forests meant that it was really difficult to find the braking point. It's not easy to make up ground in these conditions. However, we are still in with a chance and are definitely not giving up. We have another big rally day ahead of us tomorrow. We want to make the most of it. Anything is possible.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“There's one thing that no one can accuse our drivers of: not showing enough commitment. They gave everything today to make up for the disadvantage of being the first cars on the track, right from the very first metre, down to the end. That's a fantastic sporting performance. Courage and passion saw them work their way into a great starting position to still be fighting for the win on the closing day of rallying on Sunday. It will be exciting down to the wire. Our goal is to secure all three titles here already – and as it stands, that is possible tomorrow. But more of the same is required on Sunday: Everyone in the team needs to deliver another flawless job so that we have something to celebrate at the end of the day.”

Number of the day


Sébastien Ogier's narrow lead of just three tenths of a second – seized on the closing night stage on Saturday – gives him a lead of 8.61 metres, which is two lengths of his Volkswasgen Polo R WRC. This is equal to 0.004 percent of the total distance covered so far.

Midday Report

#ShowDownUnder with Crocodile Mikk and the Michelin Man.


A monster of a stage. And a great performance by Andreas Mikkelsen. Why Crocodile Mikk is back in business in terms of getting the win at the Rally Australia.


He wasn't really aware of much. His stage went really well. Perfectly actually. He couldn't have done any better. But he didn't really know what his time was. Almost nine seconds faster than the two-time world champion, and twelve seconds faster than the rally leader. “Then it was okay,” said Andreas Mikkelsen. And disappeared. He has a job to do and is always focussed on the next special stage. And as everyone knows, that is always the most difficult one.


Not least because the gap between the front-runners is even narrower. It feels like the lead changes hands every 60 seconds. Kris Meeke in the Citroën is the front-runner at the lunch break on Saturday. He is 2.3 seconds ahead of Volkswagen man Jari-Matti Latvala. Who is 1.6 seconds ahead of team-mate Sébastien Ogier. Who in turn is 1.3 seconds ahead of Crocodile Mikk in the third Polo R WRC. And not forgetting local hero Hayden Paddon in the Hyundai, who rounds off the top five, all separated by less than ten seconds. 


And there's more: The tyre selection. The Volkswagen boys all opted for different strategies, and were all successful in their own way. World champion Ogier had three soft and two hard Michelins, Jari-Matti opted for five hard tyres, Andreas Mikkelsen went for four hard and one soft tyre. The selection won't be any easier in the afternoon. The second pass of the monster “Nambucca” with its 50.8 kilometres against the clock will take place in the blazing sun and high temperatures, while the second pass of “Valla” will be in pitch black conditions with temperatures dropping rapidly. What will the Michelin Man recommend.


Overall standings after SS 10:


1. Kris Meeke (Citroën) 1h 48m 35.2s

2. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) +2.3s

3. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) +3.9s

4. Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) +5.2s

5. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +9.3s

Day 2 in Australia.

Friday, 11.09.2015

Rally Australia day 1. The video.

Images Day 1 (10)

Day Report

Latvala in top gear.


Delicious salmon pasta was on the menu for the Volkswagen Motorsport team at the Service Park in Coffs Harbour on Friday afternoon. After all you need to refuel to keep going. And whatever Jari-Matti Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila ate must have been something very special. After the lunch break on day one of rallying in Australia, the Finnish duo delivered a truly brilliant performance.

After the morning loop with four special stages, JML trailed overall leader Kris Meeke by 10.7 seconds, which saw Latvala in fifth place. Then it seemed he moved up at least one gear and with three stage best times on the second pass of the day, not only reduced his deficit to Meeke, but also took the overall lead. “I really pushed on the first three stages of the afternoon,” said Latvala. “That was at the expense of the tyres, but we took the fact that it would cost us a few seconds on the long final stage of the day into account.”

Meanwhile, the fastest street sweeper in the world once again led the World Rally Cars onto Australia's gravel tracks. As leader of the championship, Sébastien Ogier must take to the tracks first and clear the thick layer of dust. Because this reduces the grip, the two-time and reigning world champion was once again “not amused” for large parts of Friday morning. However, he has no real reason to worry. Just 4.6 seconds and two places separate Ogier from the top of the overall standings after just one third of the rally. Anything is possible.

8.3 seconds behind Ogier is Andreas Mikkelsen, which sees the third Volkswagen Pilot in fourth place. Making him just 12.9 seconds behind Latvala, Meeke and Ogier. Four stages covering 117.48 timed kilometres are on Saturday's itinerary for Down Under, including the marathon stage “Nambucca” at 50.8 kilometres. The first World Rally Car will take to the track at 10:18 a.m. local time (UTC +10). And who will be at the wheel? The fastest street sweeper in the world of course.

Classification after 8 of 21 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Total Time / Diff 1st  
1 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +1h 15m 29.1s  
2 K. Meeke / P. Nagle +2.0s  
3 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +4.6s  
4 A. Mikkelsen / O. Fløene +12.9s  
5 D. Sordo / M. Martí +15.9s  
6 H. Paddon / J. Kennard +25.5s  
7 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +37.2s  
8 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +40.2s  
9 E. Evans / D. Barritt +2m 21.8s  
10 L. Bertelli / L. Granai +3m 37.9s  

Number of the day


And then there was the (un)Usual Suspect. On his way back to the service park immediately after the ceremonial start in downtown Coffs Harbour on Thursday evening, Andreas Mikkelsen was forced to make an unscheduled stop in his Polo R WRC. The local police had pulled the Norwegian, currently third in the World Championship, over for an alcohol test. Mikkelsen passed the test without further objection. “I was just below the limit,” he said, with a wink. The limit in Australia is 0.01 per mill.

Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“A goog opening day of the rally.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“We can be extremely happy with the opening day Down Under. Julien and I pushed hard and were at the very limit. The routes here in Australia are incredibly beautiful, but also extremely difficult. There is a lot of loose gravel on the stages, which makes it very slippery for the first cars onto the road. We were often so close to the limit that we nearly came unstuck a few times. Despite this, I am really happy with our position at the end of the day. My goal remains to win here. It will not be easy, but we are still in with a chance. Another very tough challenge awaits us tomorrow, in the form of the 50-kilometre ‘Nambucca’ stage – but it is also one of the most spectacular stages.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“A good opening day of the rally! The priority in the morning was to restrict the amount of tyre wear. The grip levels were surprisingly high, although the dust on the surface did make it slippery at first. That meant the tyre wear was also quite high with the soft tyres. Furthermore, the first cars onto the route had to sweep the roads clean, which had a negative effect on the times. I was able to claw back the deficit in the afternoon. We are obviously in a good position, but we still have some challenges ahead of us. The two runs of ‘Nambucca’ see us take on the longest stages of the rally tomorrow.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“We did our best to stay within striking distance of the leaders today. For the first three stages of the day, opening the route together with my team-mates was one of the most difficult tasks we’ve faced all year. Unfortunately I shot myself in the foot a bit on the first kilometre of the morning. I was a bit too hard on my tyres on the short asphalt section and had to drive a little more cautiously than I would have liked for the rest of the morning loop. We pushed hard again in the afternoon, in order to stay in contention, but the grip level changed constantly and was hard to judge. We lost a lot of time on the final stage due to some very strange handling, and will check exactly what the problem was in the evening service. It was not ideal, but we will attack again tomorrow.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Respect to our drivers. All three did an outstanding job today. Opening the route here, and particularly the first three special stages, was no easy challenge. It was difficult to set top times on the loose gravel and, to make matters worse, they acted as road sweepers for the opposition behind them. That is the dubious honour you get as World Championship leaders, and we are happy to take on this challenge. The role actually suited us over the final few kilometres of the day, as the increasing amount of dust in the air hindered visibility for the drivers behind us. All in all, we are very happy with the standings. Our goal of wrapping up all three World Championship titles here in Australia is currently within touching distance. However, this is only an interim result. We must continue to work meticulously as a team, in order to achieve our goal. We are looking forward to it.”

Midday report

Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?


Everything is that little bit more relaxed in Australia. This is certainly true of the hosts in Coffs Harbour, at any rate. And the same could be said of the Volkswagen drivers after the opening four special stages. The fastest road sweepers in the world are bunched together nicely within 1.5 seconds in places four to six, well within striking distance of the lead. It could have been far worse, but that’s life. 


The new special stages, “Utungun”, “Bakers Creek” and “Northbank” had given Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen a few light headaches in the run-up to the rally. The gravel roads do offer some grip, but not until you actually get to the road surface. Sitting on top of the hard bed of clay is a layer of fine, loose gravel. And there is plenty of it. The cars opening the route have no choice but to act as road sweepers for the subsequent drivers. The route becomes faster and faster with every World Rally Car. As first, second and third in the World Championship, the Volkswagen boys had the honour of sweeping the virgin special stages at rally speed.


“Flat out – that is our only choice,” said Sébastien Ogier, describing the driving style he must adopt in order to avoid looking rather old compared to the opposition, who hit the road much further down the starting order. And another thing: because the soft Michelin tyres offer greater traction, the WRC drivers viewed them as the wisest choice for the morning loop. However, they started to wear rather quickly. The fastest Volkswagen driver, Andreas Mikkelsen – in fourth place, 10.3 seconds behind leader Kris Meeke (Citroën, sixth on the road) – made a slight mistake in this regard. “I put a little too much strain on the tyres on the asphalt section on stage one. This meant I had to be far more cautious than I would have liked. Frustrating,” said the Norwegian. “All it took was a few drifts.” And the asphalt section in question, which opened both “Utungun” and the rally, is only about one kilometre long ...


“Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?” – those are the unmistakable words from the chorus to probably the most famous pop song in Australian history. Followed by: “You'd better run, you'd better take cover”. In other words:  heads up, there is a storm brewing. The lyrics couldn’t be more fitting, as Volkswagen’s “Men at Work” are sure to hit back with a bang in the afternoon, as they strive to make up lost ground. Flat out. And hopefully without as much road sweeping.


Result after SS 4: 


1. Kris Meeke (Citroën) 38m 06.7s

2. Dani Sordo (Hyundai) +3.3s

3. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +7.0s

4. Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) +10.3s

5. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) +10.7s

6. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) +11.8s 

Day 1 in Australia.

Thursday, 10.09.2015

Images Opening Day (8)

Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“The Polo almost ended up on its roof.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The Rally Australia is always one of the highlights of the season for me. I spent a bit of time in Sydney on the weekend before the rally. It is a great city, and the people there were very friendly and relaxed, as they are in general in Australia. Also, the countryside and wildlife are completely different for us Europeans. After all, this is the only place we have kangaroos and koalas watching us – hopefully they will stay in the green safe zones! The stages here on the Gold Coast are beautiful again this year. The 50-kilometre ‘Nambucca’ stage will be particularly challenging. I had a worrying moment in the Shakedown, when the Polo almost ended up on its roof. I was too close to the inside of a tight right-corner and suddenly found myself on two wheels, like a stunt driver. Fortunately I was able to open the steering and recover the situation. Generally speaking I am in good form and hope to wrap up the World Championship title with a good result here in Australia.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“We used today’s Shakedown to do a bit of testing for the special conditions we will face here in Australia, as we did not have the opportunity to do this before the rally. This meant we were able to try out a few things with the set-up over the course of the five runs. I was happy with the time I set in the end. There is quite a thick layer of dust on the road, which certainly does not make life any easier – particularly for the first cars out on the route. All in all, I am happy with the morning’s work. It is always nice to be in Australia, and I am looking forward to finally getting going after this afternoon’s ceremonial start, and to the first special stages tomorrow.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I am really looking forward to the Rally Australia. I have always liked it and, of the four rallies remaining this season, this probably represents my best chance of claiming my first ever win. I have enough experience this year, and Friday’s stages are new to everyone – and that usually suits me. It took a matter of seconds to switch back to gravel mode – the feeling for the Polo was there from the word go in these conditions, and I immediately felt right at home. As one of the first cars onto the route, the task facing us this weekend is far from easy – although it should be a little easier than for my team-mates. The route will become faster and faster with every World Rally Car that passes, so we face a real challenge as the first three cars onto the stages. However, it is a challenge we are happy to take on.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The Rally Australia is always a bit special. The special stages cannot be compared to any others in the World Rally Championship. The entire circus has to make a long journey, but it is an extremely positive culture shock when you get here. The people are always very friendly and relaxed here. No question about it: we like the Rally Australia. However, the 2015 event could earn a special place in our hearts, as we could successfully defend the title in all three competitions – if we do a good job. I can tell you now: everyone in the team is as determined as ever and excited about the opportunity to achieve our goal here.”

Shakedown report

Fast, fast, fast.


Fastest times for Ogier, Mikkelsen and Latvala in the Shakedown at the Rally Australia. That may sound like the logical continuation of the Volkswagen trio’s one-two-three at the Rally Germany, but the WRC event on the fifth continent, and the switch from asphalt to gravel, is no stroll in the park for anyone. The “free practice” saw World Champion Ogier briefly and spectacularly put his Polo R WRC on two wheels – stunt driver style. A small taste of the true character of the Rally Australia. Ogier recovered the situation and went on to clock the fastest time of the Shakedown, ahead of Mikkelsen and Latvala. Fast, fast, fast, from a Volkswagen perspective. Long may it continue this way when the real action gets underway on Friday with the first 125.12 of a total 311.36 kilometres against the clock.


The 2015 Rally Australia has the potential to be the highlight of the season for Volkswagen, as it represents the first opportunity to complete a successful title defence in all three competitions. To achieve this remarkable feat, Ogier must maintain the lead he currently holds over his team-mates. The same goes for Volkswagen and its rivals Hyundai, Citroën and M-Sport-Ford. With a host of theoretical outcomes that would result in a successful title defence, there is one simple formula: victory for Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia Down Under would seal the titles in the Driver, Co-Driver and Manufacturer competitions. So, the best approach for Ogier and Ingrassia in the Polo R WRC? Fast, fast, fast.



Shakedown result: 


1. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) 2m 49.4s

2. Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) 2m 50.5s

3. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) 2m 51.0s

4. Kris Meeke (Citroën) 2m 51.5s

5. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) 2m 51.6s

Opening day in Australia.

Tuesday, 08.09.2015

What if …

The Rally Australia presents Volkswagen with its first opportunity to wrap up all three titles in the World Rally Championship with races still to come. But the question is: under which conditions? Find an overview here. What if …

… in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ World Championship.
The lead currently stands at 93 points – Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia hold their destiny in their own hands as they aim for their third WRC title in a row in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship. For this dream to come true in Australia, they must maintain a lead of at least 84 points over Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Fløene. Only the three Volkswagen driver/co-driver pairings can still mathematically be crowned champions in 2015. They can afford to lose no more than nine points to Latvala/Anttila – should Latvala win, second place and a bonus point from the Power Stage would suffice for Ogier. Should they finish ahead of Latvala/Anttila, the title is theirs. Given the fact that they currently trail the leaders by 109 points, the chances of Mikkelsen/Fløene winning the title are more mathematical than realistic.

… in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.
Of the 139-point lead going into the Rally Australia, 129 must still be intact after the event for Volkswagen to wrap up its third Manufacturers’ title in the World Rally Championship in a row. Victory for either Jari-Matti Latvala or Sébastien Ogier would be sufficient to defend this lead – or, should closest rivals Hyundai win in Australia, second and fourth place for the two cars would also be good enough.

Monday, 07.09.2015

Friday, 04.09.2015


News from the Volkswagen team.

+++ A new head mechanic for Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene: Yari Mitschinelli takes over this job as of the Rally Australia for the pair currently third in the World Championship. Mitschinelli has been working as a mechanic for the duo for the past three years in the WRC. Artur Wronski, who was the Norwegians’ previous head mechanic and won the Rally Dakar with Volkswagen, will take over the management of the test team in the future. +++

+++ There will be a one-off change of head mechanics for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila at the Rally Australia. Latvala and Anttila’s Polo R WRC will be serviced by Artur Wronski and their regular mechanics for the one race Down Under. Jose Azevedo, who has been a loyal servant of Latvala/Anttila for many years, is unable to make it Australia for a very good reason. He has had to remain in Portugal for the christening of his nephew, to whom he is also godfather. +++

Number for the Rally

76.9 per cent

Volkswagen travels to Australia with fond memories. Last year the team secured the Manufacturers’ title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in Coffs Harbour, with races still to come. They could achieve the same feat in 2015 – and, in doing so, equal last year’s record. Back then, Volkswagen was crowned champion manufacturer after 10 of 13 rallies – the earliest the title had been decided in WRC history. The round Down Under is once again the tenth of 13 races in 2015.

Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“The Rally Australia is unique.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I love the Rally Australia. It is a very special event. As it is an overseas rally, there is a little less hustle and bustle than at Volkswagen’s home race in Germany, for example. It is a bit more intimate, and I like that. Furthermore, the special stages in Australia are very nice to drive. Always have a lot of fun in the car. Last year it was a great duel between Jari-Matti Latvala and me, and we were ultimately separated by just 6.8 seconds. I expect more thrilling battles with my team-mates again this year. We head Down Under on the back of a perfect team result. The Rally Germany was absolutely fantastic and definitely one of the highlights of the season. We obviously want to follow that with the next highlight. The main goal for the season is obviously to defend our titles. We have another match point in Australia. As well as the Manufacturers’ Championship with Volkswagen, we can also wrap up the titles in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ championships with races still to come. We will do our best to achieve this – ideally with a perfect team result.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The Rally Australia is unique. The forests, the harbour, and the whole atmosphere. It is more reminiscent of a vacation – but it obviously won’t be a holiday for the team and me. Sure, we will acclimatise a bit in Coffs Harbour and the surrounding area ahead of the rally. However, when we get down to the serious business we have to be, and will be, wide-awake and fully focussed. I like the fast, flowing special stages in Australia – particularly the combination of wide and narrow roads through the forest and on open ground. It is a bit like the Rally Finland and, as is well-known, that really suits me. On other sections, you are flat-out close to large trees. I really like that too. But you have to be careful: the surface is different to in the European forests. The car must have the perfect set-up. In Australia, you need a car set-up somewhere between the Rally Mexico and the Rally Finland. We have good reference values, which we will use. I am very confident about Australia. Last year it was very tight between Sébastien Ogier and me, and my goal for this year is to be up there challenging for the win again.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“After the successful Rally Germany, we are back on gravel with the Polo – and I am really looking forward to it. The Rally Australia is one of my favourite rallies. I like the special stages and the different challenges. For example, there are a lot of blind corners in the forests. They demand a lot of feel for the car on the one hand, and a big portion of courage on the other. It is far from easy, and even a small mistake can ruin your entire rally. Last year, Australia produced the first one-two-three for Volkswagen. That was a fantastic team result and showed just how competitive we are Down Under. I was very happy with third place. Ola and I set some very good times, so I am definitely confident. I have a good chance of winning my first WRC Rally in Australia. That remains a goal, which I would like to achieve sooner rather than later. So, bring it on!”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“We obviously want to take the momentum our home win has given us to Australia, although the conditions will be completely different Down Under. For this reason, we will once again be fully focussed as we pursue our goals at the Rally Australia, for which we have prepared meticulously again: we would like to wrap up all three titles with races to come – and we have a realistic chance of doing just that. In each competition, we must defend the lead we have established so far. However, that is not as simple as it sounds. We will have to do another perfect job in order to emerge successful. If we do produce another flawless performance, then there is a good chance we will have something special to celebrate in Australia.”