... a surprising moment for Julien Ingrassia after the 2013 Rally Mexico. The Volkswagen Motorsport team not only welcomed Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia to the celebrations for the second win of this season’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a hearty round of applause, but also donned wrestling masks. There was method behind this madness: “Mister Mysterio” is a running gag in the WRC, which sees Julien Ingrassia and journalist Jerome Bourret incorporate surprise appearances in wrestling masks into everyday WRC life. Wrestling enjoys cult status in Mexico.
... the chef in the Volkswagen team at the 2014 Rally Mexico. Daniel Zillgen was meticulously ensuring that only American or Argentinean meat was served. In the case of Mexican meat, there is a risk that the drug Clenbuterol was used during breeding. This particular drug is also a banned doping substance.
... sleepless in Alghero at the 2014 Rally Italy. The late service times at the Rally Italy produced a unique atmosphere in the Service Park, which was located directly on the harbour in Alghero. Thousands of spectators, a party mile with street vendors, and yachts in the background – perfect for the Italian soul and an atmospheric backdrop for the World Rally Championship.
... a very loud wake-up call at the 2014 Rally Finland. All the teams’ drivers were awoken by a fire alarm at the central hotel for Rally Finland on Sunday morning. The high-pitched alarm was set off by Luis Moya, two-time world champion alongside Carlos Sainz, who now works in the Volkswagen team. Moya put a slice of bread in the toaster, then forgot about it, and the toaster was soon churning out smoke and turning his toast into charcoal. It cannot, however, be confirmed as to whether Moya really did say “For Heaven’s sake, Carlos, please turn the toaster off”.
… “novice driver” Andreas Mikkelsen in summer 2015. Last year's third-placed driver in the WRC faced an unusually difficult obstacle when trying to register a car in his chosen home of Monaco. Since it was the first time that Mikkelsen had attempted to register a car, his insurance company asked for a letter of recommendation – Mikkelsen is regarded as a novice driver in Monaco. So the Norwegian asked his employer, Jost Capito, whether he would attest to his “driving ability”.
... a light-hearted wink at the 2015 Rally Australia. When the Volkswagen team took to the podium to celebrate its Manufacturers’ title, it did so not only adorned in blue World Champion t-shirts, but also, rather appropriately, sporting white Smurf hats. The eye-catching attire was also a reference to the colourful Volkswagen team apparel provided by partner Salomon, which has earned great plaudits from all sides since the start of the year.
... a true rally sprint at the 2016 Rally Sweden. The warm weather in Sweden and the persistent thawing ahead of the second WRC event of the year forced the organisers to cancel nine of the 21 special stages. This reduced the distance of the classified kilometres to 226.48 km - making the 2016 Rally Sweden the shortest WRC rally of all time. Before this, the 2015 Rally France at 245.35, the 2007 Rally Argentina at 248.90 and the 2011 Rally Jordan at 259.56 timed kilometres were the shortest competitions in WRC history.
... the most successful Facebook post in the history of Volkswagen Motorsport – and with it, probably the most famous family of cows in Mexico. They achieved true VIP status on social networks thanks to a brilliant evasive manoeuvre by Sébastien Ogier at the 2016 Rally Mexico. The video, which shows the three-time world champion skilfully swerve to avoid the livestock at full speed, has been viewed by more than 5.2 million users.
... the “World Rally Car” for the future World Rally Champion of 2041. Sébastien Ogier’s team presented him with a push-car in Polo R WRC design at the 2016 Rally Poland for his three-week-old son Tim Kaiser-Ogier. “I hope he gets plenty of use out of it,” said daddy Ogier.
... the revenge of the cake at the 2016 Rally Germany. Jost Capito “presented” Jari-Matti Latvala with a cake at the 2014 Rally Sweden. In celebration of 300 stage best times, the cake ended up in the Finn’s face back then. After the Rally Germany came the rematch from Latvala’s perspective: As a farewell, a gateau landed on the face of departing Motorsport Director Capito, “launched” by the 2014 and 2015 runner-up in the world championship.
… the “Breakfast of Champions”. Sébastien Ogier started his big day at the 2016 Rally Spain, on which he would be crowned World Rally Champion for the fourth time, by polishing off his usual omelette for breakfast. This was his 200th in total since he started driving the Polo R WRC for Volkswagen.