2012, marked another milestone for Volkswagen on the way to the World Rally Championship. With his co-driver Julien Ingrassia, Sébastien Ogier contested his first rally for Volkswagen – at none less than the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. The outing at this classic also marked the opening of a WRC season under real conditions. Although the French duo was not driving the Polo R WRC, the findings that the pilots and team glean from contesting these events are an important part of the meticulous preparation work for the 2013 debut.
Škoda Fabia S2000 instead of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Whilst the preparations and the running are undertaken entirely by Volkswagen Motorsport, in 2012 a Fabia S2000 vehicle of the Group’s Škoda brand is fielded. It runs in the SWRC class for slightly less powerful cars. Due to their lower performance compared to the more powerful WRC models, cars can only gain achievement recognition. But that is not what Volkswagen is aiming for: The main priority is that the seasoned “Dakar” squad from Wolfsburg can familiarise themselves with the sometimes complex procedures of a WRC weekend in order to launch straight into the 2013 season in an organised and experienced manner.
Two stars and chances for youngsters
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia share one of the two Fabia S2000 cars for the entire 2012 season. In the cockpit of the second car, Volkswagen gives youngsters a chance to show what they can do and earn themselves a seat in the Polo R WRC. Kevin Abbring from the Netherlands and his Belgian co-driver Frédéric Miclotte as well as the Norwegian pair Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene take turns over the course of the season.
Journey once around the world
There are 13 rounds on the World Rally Championship calendar in 2012. Eight of these are on gravel, two are on tarmac or mixed surfaces, one is on snow and ice. Monte Carlo opened the season in January, at the end of August Volkswagen contests its home event around Trier, with the Spanish round in mid November marking the end of the season. The longest journeys go to destinations like South America.
First successes boost excitement and motivation
Not necessarily intentional but certainly very welcome: Volkswagen tackled the new WRC challenge with early successes. Class victories and even world championship points regularly go to Volkswagen Motorsport. A pleasant side effect: Pilots and teams don’t just learn about procedures during rallies, but they also know how it feels to climb the podium