Four top-calibre rally racers with a total of six world champion’s titles and 75 victories between them will be competing in the Legends classification at round seven of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup at the Nürburgring (17 –18 August). On track, Volkswagen factory driver Sébastien Ogier will be pitted against three veteran masters of the fine art of drifting: Markku Alén, Juha Kankkunen and “The chance to compete against these rally racing stars poses a special challenge to our Cup drivers at the Nürburgring. I’m sure that particularly our young racers can learn a couple of things here and there from these veteran masters even in a circuit racing event,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito.
On the short version of the Nürburgring, Markku Alén, Juha Kankkunen, Sébastien Ogier and Carlos Sainz will be competing with the 21 regular entrants of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. The regular drivers should not pin any hopes on a possible lack of circuit racing experience on the part of the rally stars though. In the course of their successful careers, all of them have demonstrated their ability to swiftly handle corners not only in the woods but also on permanent race tracks. The bio of Markku Alén (61), for instance, includes a run at the Le Mans 24 Hours as well as four guest runs in the DTM for Alfa Romeo.
His Finnish compatriot Juha Kankkunen (53) in 1988 was the first winner at the Race of Champions. He is also the only Legends entrant at the “Ring” with prior experience from two Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup races. “For us old hands, it’s always a great thing. We’re meeting friends from the old days and can show which one of us is the best nowadays,” says Kankkunen. At the 2010 season finale at Hockenheim, he was the runner-up in the Legends classification. A year later, at the same venue, he was the quickest Legends entrant.
The two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz previously ran at circuit racing events for Volkswagen before as well. In 2009, the Spaniard drove a Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and has also gathered experience in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup. “I’ve seldom experienced such close duels in motorsport,” he says. “I’m eager to see how my rallying colleagues will deal with the situation of suddenly running side by side with other cars.”
Sébastien Ogier is the first driver to have been signed by Volkswagen as a factory driver for the WRC commitment that starts in 2013. “A week before Rallye Deutschland the run in the Scirocco R-Cup is a nice change. Obviously, it’s fantastic to compete against legends like Markku Alén, Juha Kankkunen and Carlos Sainz at the event,” says the Frenchman before his race at the Eifel circuit that will be followed by the German WRC round around Trier a weekend later. There, Volkswagen will continue its tests in preparation for the official entry in the 2013 World Rally Championship.
Although in this WRC season the Frenchman is only running for testing purposes in a Super 2000 car of the Group’s Škoda brand, which has less power compared with the current WRC cars, he has already clinched 23 WRC points which currently puts him in twelfth place of the overall WRC standings. With an impressive victory at the 2011 Race of Champions in Düsseldorf, he proved that he is superbly capable of handing the Scirocco as well.
Brief bios of the Legends entrants
Markku Alén (born on 15 February 1951 in Helsinki/FIN) celebrated his greatest success in 1978 on winning the FIA Rally Cup of the World Rally Championship that was still unofficial back then. The series was awarded its official world championship status only a year later. Afterwards, Alén won at 19 WRC events and finished the world championship as the runner-up in 1986 and 1988. Due to his spectacular driving style his fans nicknamed him “Mister Maximum”.
Juha Kankkunen (born on 2 April 1959 in Laukaa/FIN), with four titles (1986, 1987, 1991 and 1993), 23 victories at WRC rounds and 821 world championship points to his tally, was the record holder in the World Rally Championship for a long time. In addition, Kankkunen won the Dakar Rally (1988). In the same year, he was victorious at the inaugural event of the Race of Champions. He repeated this success in 1991.
Carlos Sainz (born on 12 April 1962 in Madrid/E) was one of the world’s absolute top rally racers for nearly two decades. “El Matador” won 24 of his 180 WRC runs and clinched the WRC titles in 1990 and 1992. In 2010, Sainz won the Dakar Rally in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2. At the moment, as Volkswagen brand ambassador, Sainz is closely involved in the development of the new Polo R WRC with which Volkswagen will start to compete in the World Rally Championship in 2013.
Sébastien Ogier (born on 17 December 1983 in Gap/F) won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2008 and afterwards competed for Citroën at 45 WRC rounds, seven of which he won. In 2011, he finished the WRC in third place. Since 2012, Ogier has been a Volkswagen factory driver and in 2013, together with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, will be forming one of the teams in the new Polo R WRC in the World Rally Championship.
Timetable, round 07, Nürburgring
Friday, 17 August 2012
15.30–16.00 Scirocco R-Cup free practice (30 min)
Saturday, 18 August 2012
08.15–08.45 Scirocco R-Cup qualifying (30 min)
12.30 Press conference on ADAC Rallye Deutschland with Legends entrants Juha Kankkunen, Markku Alén, Sébastien Ogier and Carlos Sainz (Media Centre)
16.05–16.35 Scirocco R-Cup race (14 laps = 50.806 km)