Volkswagen WRC

Volkswagen celebrates stunning 2013 with silverware

Volkswagen Motorsport collects WRC tophies

Last weekend Citroën was busy signing its drivers for 2014, but Volkswagen Motorsport had the rather more enviable task of attending the FIA’s annual trophy presentation night in Paris.

While there FIA President Jean Todt was kind enough to furnish Volkswagen with three trophies, one for the manufacturers’ title and one each for the championship winning driver, Sebastien Ogier, and his co-driver, Julien Ingrassia.

Ogier reminded us all of the obvious, taht nobody could have predicted such unprecedented success for Volkswagen this year.

“If anyone had told us before the start of the season that Julien and I would end the year with nine wins and the World Championship title, we would probably have sent them straight to the team doctor,” he said. “This is a dream come true for Julien and me, and we are both extremely proud and honoured to finally get our hands on the FIA trophies.”

Team boss, Jost Capito also shared a few words of gratitude for his Volkswagen Motorsport colleagues.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this kind of result in our first season in the World Rally Championship,” Capito reflected. “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone in the Volkswagen team. From the mechanics to the truck drivers, from the race engineers to the marketing department—the commitment shown by every single individual is what made the greatest success in Volkswagen’s motorsport history possible.

“And we must not forget that the Polo R WRC was not only quick from the word go, but also extremely reliable. Our three driver/co-driver pairings also produced outstanding performances. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, in particular, more than deserve their title in the Driver and Co-Driver Championship, with nine wins to their name this season.”

Volkswagen WRC

Volkswagen Motorsport pats itself on the back

The story of glory video

That dust is pretty much all that Volkswagen’s rivals saw during the 2013 WRC season. In its debut year Volkswagen Motorsport won 10 out of 13 races, with nine of those victories going to new world champion Sebastien Ogier.

It was remarkable year for the German giants who could not have hoped for such great things when they rocked up to Monte Carlo in mid-January.

Here, in this brief one minute video, Volkswagen recaps its year. This is the director’s cut according to the video’s title. That’s all very well, but we’d quite like to see an extended remix thanks very much.

Volkswagen WRC

Sebastien Ogier wins 2013 World Rally Championship

Julien Ingrassia and Sebastien Ogier

Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have now officially claimed the 2013 World Rally Championship after finishing third in the Powerstage at the Rally de France-Alsace.

It caps off a season of dominance for the Volkswagen duo who have won six of the 10 rallies so far, and with three rallies still up for grabs (including Rally France) you’d expect the new world order to add to their tally.

Normally the nominated Powerstage is run towards the end of the rally, but for Rally France the nominated stage was SS1. Citroën driver Dani Sordo won the stage and collects three world championship points.

The only man who could stop Ogier winning the title was Ford’s Thierry Neuville, but to catch the Volkswagen ace he needed to win the Powerstage. Neuville, like Sordo a tarmac surface specialist, could only manage the two points offered for second place and with that Ogier’s title was secured. For good measure Ogier and Ingrassia finished third in the Powerstage and claimed a single championship point.

“I am absolutely overjoyed,” exclaimed Ogier. “I could give everyone in the world a big hug. The feeling is impossible to describe. To have won the World Championship title in France is an absolute dream come true. For the last few days I have been trying not to think too much about it, in order to avoid making any mistakes. The relief now is immense.

“However, I am also well aware that rallying is a team sport. This success would never have been possible without our fantastic team at Volkswagen. Whether trucker, mechanic or race engineer, I have to thank everyone. One thing is for sure—we will celebrate in style now!”

“It is possibly the best day of my life—and definitely of my career,” enthused Ingrassia. “If anyone had told me at the start of the year that Séb and I would already be World Champions with so much of the season still to go, I would immediately have told them they are mad. We were so close in Australia three weeks ago, but now the title win is a reality.”

It’s hard not to be happy for Ogier/Ingrassia and Volkswagen who have injected the WRC with a new enthusiasm. Nobody would have expected the Polo R WRC to make such an impact in its debut season, least of all the establishment at Citroën.

We’ll have more coverage of the rally over the next few days, but for now there’s some extra material from Volkswagen after the break.

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.”