Volkswagen had a great opening at the 2014 season of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)! Riding a Polo R WRC, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia made an excellent performance at the Monte Carlo Rally, the first race of the 2014 WRC season. This will be their 2nd win at Monte, 17th victory in the WRC and 10th with Volkswagen.
Ogier had to stave off hard-fighting Bryan Bouffier (Ford) and Kris Meeke (Citroen) to take the Monte win. Bouffier and Meeke ended up at second and third, respectively.
All Volkswagen Polo R WRCs managed to make it to the top 10, racking up points for themselves: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (fifth) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (seventh). All racers at the Monte had to brave extremely difficult weather and road conditions -- rain in the valleys, snow at altitude – making tire selection as the decisive factor.
Based on the available weather data, the Volkswagen drivers opted for tread-free slicks for the first three special stages of the Monte Carlo Rally. However, the sudden onset of winter in the French Maritime Alps and heavy rain in the valleys proved difficult for them, causing them to lose a lot of time.
Orgier and his teammates even found themselves in ninth place. They recovered well starting from fifth stage, finishing consistently in the top 3 in every stage. They even won seven special stages. They took back the lead at the midway point of the Monte, and never looked back.
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1: “What a perfect start to the season! The team did a fantastic job. I am overjoyed. It is an amazing feeling to win the Rally Monte Carlo in these difficult conditions – especially now that the Monte is a round of the World Championship again. For that reason, this win obviously ranks above the victory in the IRC in 2009 for Julien and me. Even more so when you consider the last three days: the fightback in extreme rain, and then the snow chaos on the Col de Turini. I really wanted to win my home rally here. I will celebrate the win appropriately – with my family, my girlfriend and the entire Volkswagen team.”