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Jan 16, 2014 - 01:43 PM
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Tyre Roulette At The 'Monte' - Volkswagen Fourth, Seventh And Ninth
Posted by: newsla on Jan 16, 2014 - 01:41 PM
WRC Rally News 2010
Tyre Roulette At The 'Monte' - Volkswagen Fourth, Seventh And Ninth


Volkswagen ended the opening leg of the first round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) in fourth, seventh and ninth. The first day of the Rally Monte Carlo was dominated by unpredictable weather, which resulted in slippery road conditions. The Volkswagen drivers literally found the “Monte” slipping out of their grasp early on, but the World Champion team regrouped to launch a collective fightback. The sudden onset of winter in the Alps caught nearly all the top drivers cold. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), who were first onto the route as defending champions in the number 1 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, lost a lot of time on virtually tread-free slicks over the course of the first three of the day’s six special stages – almost 1.20 minutes on Bryan Bouffier (Ford), who also benefitted from his late start position. However, Ogier/Ingrassia fought back from ninth to fourth overall on the second loop. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) in the #2 Polo R WRC made up eleven positions and currently lie seventh after 125.62 of 383.88 kilometres against the clock. Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) are ninth overall.

 

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The temperatures dropped dramatically below freezing and snow started to fall between the ice spies inspecting the special stages in the early hours of the morning and the World Rally Cars taking to the route. The competitors, who expected a wet route at worst, were suddenly confronted with snow on the stages. To compound matters, the drivers starting further down the field also benefitted from the tracks left by the earlier starters. The Volkswagen drivers shied away from taking unnecessary risks on the first three special stages, which they then tackled for a second time in the afternoon, and brought their three World Rally Cars back to the service in one piece. They then set five top-three times on the second loop, including one-two finishes on two stages.

Quotes, day one of the Rally Monte Carlo

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“A classic start to the ‘Monte’, with absolutely crazy weather conditions. Nobody in our team had anticipated snow on the stages. Unfortunately this meant we had completely the wrong tyres in the morning. There was absolutely no snow on the road on the way to the start of the first stage, but everything was white less than a hundred metres later. When you are the first car onto the route with slicks, it is anything but an advantage. I slid into a wall with the left side of the car in the first corner. Fortunately there was only minor damage, and I was able to continue. The guys were then able to fix the Polo up perfectly in the 30-minte midday service. Despite being on winter tyres, we still had a few hairy moments in the afternoon, as the conditions were extremely unpredictable today. It is still a long way to the finish in Monaco. The motto for the next couple of days is: attack, but not at any cost. If you are not careful, your ‘Monte’ can easily be over sooner than you think.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“The snow caught us out this morning, having fit slicks. On snow, they feel like completely bare summer tyres – and that is anything but fun. As I did not want to lose sight of my goal of finally finishing in the points after many disappointments at the ‘Monte’, I was very cautious and unfortunately lost a lot of time in the morning. In the afternoon, we were spot on with the winter tyres. They worked superbly on the roads, which were very dirty in places. There is still a long way to go, and there could still be a lot of surprises in store. We will continue to try to bring the car home safely and pick up as many points as possible.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“What an incredible day – typical ‘Monte’. We set off on the first stage fully expecting the route to be dry. I could hardly believe my eyes when we came across snow just a few corners in. Neither our ice spies nor our weather crew, including ourselves, had seen that coming. It was obviously no fun out there on the slicks we had on. We want to complete the Rally Monte Carlo and gain as much experience as possible here, in order to be at the races in the future. With this in mind, we took an extremely cautious approach, which, when travelling downhill and in the corners, meant we were going at less than walking pace in places. We played safe with the tyre selection for the afternoon loop – winter tyres and two sets of spikes in the boot. That made the special stages far easier and safer. We learned a lot today.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“As it so often is at the ‘Monte’, tyre selection was key today. However, the ones we put on for the first three special stages were not the right ones for the conditions we then encountered. However, given the information we had to hand, we would always make exactly the same decision. Neither our weather crew nor the ice spies could have predicted the conditions on this morning’s stages. Nine out of ten times you are spot on with the weather data – today was that one occasion, where it was a difficult decision. Together, we will try to make up the ground we lost over the next two days. That will not be easy, particularly not at the ‘Monte’ – but it is a huge incentive.”

And then there was ...

... the wrong weather. Unfortunately it simply refused to play ball once Volkswagen had made its tyre selection.

PaddockTalk Perspective



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