• Defended manufacturers’ championship
As EASY AS 1-2-3 Volkswagen has won the Manufacturer's championship at the 2014 Rally Australia. Here Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia get some airtime. Image: Newspress
•Earliest championship win in 25 years
•Sebastien Ogier wins
AUSTRALIA - Volkswagen wrapped up the title in the Manufacturers’ Championship of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a 1-2-3 at Rally Australia. With three rallies still remaining for the 2014 season, the best result in the history of the team means VW can no longer be caught at the top of the overall standings.
Winners in Australia, Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and team mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila, who finished runner-up down under, successfully defended the title in record time. According to the WRC, this is the earliest in a season that a World Championship title has been won for 25 years.
Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene finished third in the final Polo R WRC to round off a perfect team result. The three VW crews also top the standings in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship. Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila will battle it out between themselves at the remaining three rallies to see who is crowned World Champion at the end of the 2014 season.
SIGN OF THREE
All good things come in threes – especially when it comes to popping champagne corks, says VW: The automaker’s 1-2-3 at the Rally Australia was the first in the team’s history in the World Rally Championship. Ogier/Ingrassia claimed the 19th victory for the Polo R WRC in only its 23rd outing. Latvala/Anttila added podium number 35 to the 235kW World Rally Car from Wolfsburg’s impressive record since making its debut at the 2013 Rally Monte Carlo. Mikkelsen/ Floene secured podium number 36.
World Champion after just three quarters of the season – only once in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has a manufacturer wrapped up the Manufacturers’ Championship sooner than Volkswagen in 2014. With nine of ten possible victories to its name – six of them 1-2 finishes.
Ogier and Latvala also spearheaded the team that took the Manufacturers’ title to Wolfsburg in 2013 – with the biggest winning margin in the history of the WRC (145 points). VW goes into the remaining three rallies of the season – in France, Spain and Great Britain – with a lead of 194 points.
Latvala/ Anttila won the Power Stage, on which bonus points are up for grabs for the first three crews, to pick up an extra three points towards the Drivers’ and Co- Drivers’ Championship.
Second place, and with it two World Championship points, went to their Volkswagen team mates Ogier/Ingrassia. Over the last two years in the World Championship, VW duos have won 16 of 22 Power Stages, bagging extra points on 39 occasions in total.
FACTS AND FIGURES
• 20 special stages, 17 stage wins (Polo R WRC).
• Won 297 of 428 stages.
• Ended special stages in the top three on 679 occasions.
• Rally Australia’s 20 special stages yielded a further 42 top-three results for the VW drivers.
Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1 driver Sebastien Ogier said: “Absolutely fantastic. I am made up for our team! They really deserve this success so much. It is hard to put this feeling into words. The fact that we have wrapped up the World Championship title with the first ever all-Volkswagen podium is an incredible success. A win would be enough for me to secure the Drivers’ title now. It would be magnificent to pull it off in France.”
VWPolo R WRC #2 Jari-Matti Latvala said: “A fantastic success. I am delighted for the entire team. The Manufacturers’ title is a great recognition of the fact that everyone at VW has been utterly committed to being successful, and also shows that the Polo is the best rally car around. Miikka and I tried to put Sébastien and Julien under pressure right up until the finish, but they were unbeatable. It’s phenomenal to stand here on the podium with all three Polos. There can be no better way to win a World Championship title.”
To welcome the new champions, the VW mechanics unrolled brand-new service awnings for the three Polo R WRCs. At the closing service, ahead of the podium ceremony, the three World Rally Cars from Wolfsburg were parked in their own places as usual, where the sign above them read: “Champions Parking Only”.
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia – Final Results
Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), VW - 2h53m18.0s
Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), VW - + 6.8s
Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), VW - + 1m 18.0s
Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën - + 1m 44.0s
Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), For - + 1m 53.6s
Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai - + 2m 56.2s
Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Hyundai - + 4m 28.2s
Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (GB/GB), Ford - + 5m 10.0s
Robert Kubica/Maciej Szczepaniak (PL/PL), Ford - + 6m 39.8s
Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot (AUS/B), Hyundai -+ 9m 29.4s
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Australia – Power Stage Result
Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), VW - 5m20.7s
Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), VW - + 1.2s
Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën - + 3.8s
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Overall Standings
(official results to be made by FIA at the end of the season)
1. Sebastien Ogier, 214 points
2. Jari-Matti Latvala, 164
3. Andreas Mikkelsen, 125
4. Mikko Hirvonen, 83
5. Thierry Neuville, 79
6. Mads Østberg, 74
7. Kris Meeke, 67
8. Elfyn Evans, 61
9. Martin Prokop, 37
10. Henning Solberg, 26
11. Juho Hänninen, 20
12. Bryan Bouffier, 18
13. Dani Sordo, 18
14. Hayden Paddon, 16
15. Robert Kubica, 14
16. Ott Tänak, 11
17. Benito Guerra, 8
18. Chris Atkinson, 7
19. Pontus Tidemand, 6
20. Jaroslav Melichárek, 4
21. Dennis Kuipers, 4
22. Nasser Al-Attiyah, 3
23. Lorenzo Bertelli, 2
24. Matteo Gamba, 2
25. Craig Breen, 2
26. Yuriy Protasov, 2
27. Jari Ketomaa, 1
28. Karl Kruuda, 1
29. Khalid Al-Qassimi, 1
30. Julien Maurin, 0
1. Volkswagen Motorsport; 348 points
2. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 154
3. M-Sport, 146
4. Hyundai Motorsport, 141
5. Volkswagen Motorsport II, 109
6. Jipocar Czech National Team, 40
7. RK M-Sport WRT, 25
8. Hyundai Motorsport N, 22