Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2013 Rally d’Italia

Volkswagen Polo R WRC, 2013 Rally Italy

Volkswagen’s extraordinary debut season in the WRC continued to gather momentum after Sebastien Ogier claimed victory in the Rally d’Italia Sardegna. That makes it five wins from seven rallies for Volkswagen, with nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb the only person able to beat VW so far this year.

Ogier’s fourth win of the year came relatively easily too, enjoying a margin of more than 75 seconds back to Ford’s Thierry Neuville. A further 30-odd seconds behind was Acropolis Rally winner Jari-Matti Latvala.

Latvala slipped as low as twelfth early in the rally after a puncture cost him almost two minutes. With that in mind he was very happy to have clawed his way back to third place. Young Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen put in some very strong performances as well and was disappointed to have crashed out late in the event while pushing hard to take fourth place from Citroën’s Dani Sordo.

Speaking after the rally Ogier said his driving style helped him achieve success in the heat of Sardinia. With half to the WRC season now behind us you also get the feeling that Volkswagen think it’s now okay to start talking of world titles.

“It feels fantastic to be back on top of the podium again! I was really beginning to miss that feeling after the last two rallies. I’m simply delighted – the team did a fantastic job and the Polo ran like a dream all weekend. We now have a very comfortable lead in the Drivers’ Championship rankings,” said Ogier.

“The rally was incredibly demanding physically, due to the high temperatures, and it sometimes got as hot as 45 degrees in the cockpit. On the second day in particular, you came close to your limits and you easily lost three to four litres of fluid.

“The heat really takes it out on the tyres and the car too. My tyre-friendly driving style was no doubt one of the reasons for my victory. I was especially pleased to once again win the Power Stage. I had a tough fight on my hands there with Thierry Neuville, who was incredibly fast during that stage, as he was throughout the rally.”


MINI WRC Rally d’Italia debut in pictures


After a long build up the MINI WRC made it’s full race debut at Rally d’Italia on the weekend. Dani Sordo achieved consistent results bringing his car home in sixth place. Kris Meeke had a few teething problems and did not finish the race. Dave Wilcox, Technical Director, has a debrief on the event where he details some of Meeke’s issues.

There’s quite a break now until the MINI WRC is back in competitive action at Rally Finland (28–30 July). Dani Sordo will be back in the car this weekend, though, fulfilling promo duties at the Cornbury Park Rally Show near Oxford.

Meanwhile, here’s a small gallery of images of the two MINI WRCs from Sardinia.


MINI WRC Team: Ready to go


This time next week we’ll be reflecting on the return of MINI to the world rally stage at Rally d’Italia. Can drivers Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke make an impression in the John Cooper Works WRC?

Dave Richards, Team Principal, seems quietly confident, “The MINI has performed better than we dared hope in testing and the S2000 car’s debut in Portugal was very encouraging. However, we are all too aware of the challenges ahead of us and take nothing for granted, but whatever the outcome, Sardinia will be an historic event for the entire team and everyone who has supported us to get this far.”

After the break you can see the team’s latest video and press release.

Lancia New Stratos

New Stratos – The performance

New Lancia Stratos

The performance figures of the New Stratos have just been published on the official website and join last week’s technical specs. So just how fast is a custom-built supercar that weighs less than 1250kg with 375kW on tap?

  • 0–100km/h: 3.3 seconds
  • 0–200km/h: 9.7 seconds
  • Top speed: 274km/h

Aside from quoting a power-to-weight ratio of less than 2.3kg/hp not much else is given away.

[Source: New Stratos]

Lancia New Stratos

More footage of the Lancia Stratos prototype

Lancia Stratos prototype

It’s been around a month since we’ve seen anything new on the Lancia Stratos revival. Here are a couple of new clips showing the car being put through its paces at the Balocco test track in Italy and at the Pininfarina wind tunnel.

The man at the wheel during the Balocco testing was former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro. So, this Michael Stoschek guy, isn’t mucking about. This is shaping up to be one serious bit of kit.

We could see the final production ready version launched next month at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, too. But don’t get too excited, there’s likely to be just 25 of these Ferrari F430 powered rockets.

[Thanks to Richard for the tip]