- Latvala in front of Ogier – WRC duel also determines battle for victory in Argentina
- Rough tracks, mud and fog – tough conditions for fifth event of the season
- Outstanding catch-up: podium position back within reach of Mikkelsen
Volkswagen continues to set the pace in Rally Argentina, clinching positions one, two and four with its three Polo R WRC cars and scoring fastest times in four of five special stages. After 328.32 of the 405.10 timed kilometres, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) are 31.2 seconds ahead of their teammates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F). On the second day of the fifth event in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Latvala/Anttila steadily extended their lead over the world champions Ogier/Ingrassia. In terms of fastest times, the tally for the two Volkswagen driver teams stands at 5:3 ahead of the final four stages on Sunday.
While the top two drivers engaged in a thrilling duel to win in Argentina, Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) in the third Polo R WRC put in an outstanding catch-up performance. Mikkelsen/Markkula started the day in seventh place overall, but moved up to fourth place after the first two stages and slashed the time by which they trailed the third-placed team to 1:56.0 minutes. With 76.78 timed kilometres to go until the end of the rally, they are therefore within striking distance of a podium finish.
In total, Volkswagen has notched up nine wins in the ten special stages in Argentina, as well as seven second places and nine third places – it has therefore clinched 25 of a possible 30 top-three times.
Quotes, day 02, Rally Argentina
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“We did everything we could to close the gap, but Jari-Matti put in a strong performance and did a fantastic job. And unfortunately, things didn’t go all that well for us. The tread of one of our tyres came off during the eighth stage and the bits of rubber that went flying then damaged our fender. We will be looking into how that could have happened. Shortly before that, I also spun the car, which cost us some time. But all is not yet lost, as anything could still happen tomorrow, with the conditions here being so tough. Ultimately, even second place in Argentina would be a good result for me and Julien as we compete to win the WRC.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“Today was definitely one of my best days in the World Rally Championship, in spite of having spun the vehicle along the way. All the dramatic events show how much everyone was battling for the front position today. I have to thank Miikka for his excellent pace notes. He also did brilliantly to navigate us through the fog during the ninth stage. And the team also provided us with the perfect Polo. There are days when everything simply works like clockwork – and you have to make the most of those opportunities.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“This morning, the aim for the rest of the rally was to make it into fourth place. And we made good a lot of time during the first stage of the day. From then on, I took things a little easier, but still managed to take fourth place before lunch. Fog then descended on the final long stage of the day, so I was especially careful then, to make sure I didn’t end up with a flat tyre or something worse. All in all, we halved the lead of the third-placed team and made good more than two minutes. I think we can be happy with our performance.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“I’m currently running out of superlatives to describe the achievements of the entire team. Every cogwheel is interlocking perfectly in the service area, and that’s incredibly important in this kind of rally where the conditions are so challenging for the cars. Our drivers can be confident that their Polo R WRC cars are perfectly prepared for the special stages. And all three teams turned this into top times. We had all three vehicles up front in no less than six out of the ten stages, which is outstanding. So my compliments to the entire team. Now we need to put in another seamless performance on Sunday, in order to turn what we have achieved so far into a measurable result.”