Rally Germany.

20 – 23 August 2015.

 

Red-hot coverage, exclusive background reports, interviews, the latest photos – simply everything on the 2015 Rally Germany. You are always up to date here.

Timetable

 

Note: All times in the timetable are given in CEST (as of: 10.07.2015).

 

Thursday, 30.07.2015

18:00 SS 1 Harju 1 2.27 km

Friday, 21.08.2015

08:28 SS 2 Pihlajakoski 1 14.51 km
09:36 SS 3 Päijälä 1 23.38 km
10:29 SS 4 Ouninpohja 1 34.39 km
11:42 SS 5 Himos 1 5.40 km
13:28 SS 6 Pihlajakoski 2 14.51 km
14:36 SS 7 Päijälä 2 23.38 km
15:29 SS 8 Ouninpohja 2 34.39 km
16:42 SS 9 Himos 2 5.40 km
18:00 SS 10 Harju 2 2.27 km

Saturday, 01.08.2015

07:08 SS 11 Mökkiperä 1 13.84 km
08:26 SS 12 Jukojärvi 1 21.25 km
10:03 SS 13 Surkee 1 14.95 km
10:56 SS 14 Horkka 1 15.30 km
13:37 SS 15 Mökkiperä 2 13.84 km
14:55 SS 16 Jukojärvi 2 21.25 km
16:32 SS 17 Surkee 2 14.95 km
17:25 SS 18 Horkka 2 15.30 km

Sunday, 02.08.2015

09:43 SS 19 Myhinpää 1 14.40 km
12:08 SS 20 Myhinpää 2 (Power Stage) 14.40 km

Sunday, 02.08.2015


Images Day 3 (14)


Final report

The fastest King of Finland.

 

It was the fastest WRC rally ever, with a breathtaking average speed of 125.44 km/h. It was also the most emotional round of the competition for Jari-Matti Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila. The Finnish duo won their home rally for the third time. After a challenging series of legs, winning the Rally Finland 2015 wasn’t just the sporting highlight of the current WRC season for Volkswagen’s Finnish pairing – it was also the perfect antidote to their previous problems.

 

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Latvala said, shortly after he clinched his win in the Rally Finland. “Expectations are always high at a home rally. That makes it all the more satisfying when you can live up to them – for the fans and for yourself.”

 

The win in Finland gives Latvala his second top spot on the podium this season, having previously won the Rally Portugal. It is the 14th World Championship rally he has won in his career to date and Latvala’s seventh win for Volkswagen. Claiming victory in Finland moves Latvala up to second place in the WRC Drivers’ Championship (93 points). His team-mate Sébastien Ogier is at the top of the table with 182 points, having taken second place in Finland to give Volkswagen a one-two victory.

 

Latvala laid the foundations for a win on Friday, when he took the overall lead with an extremely focused performance on Finland’s longest Special Stage – the famous SS Ouninpohja – with its numerous jumps. He went on to secure the best time on seven/eight of the remaining twelve Stages before being crowned the fastest king of Finland with a/an 13.7-second lead ahead of second-placed Ogier.


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“The whole team has always believed in me!"

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“It was an incredible duel. I think we put on a great show for the fans. Congratulations to Jari-Matti and Miikka. They were really strong all weekend. I said before the rally that Jari-Matti would be the man to beat at his home rally. As always Julien and I did our best, but, like last year, the two of them were just too good here in Finland. Despite this I am more than happy with second place, as we have extended our lead in the overall standings. Even without the fine second place, the Rally Finland was once again a fantastic experience. As a driver, you don’t feel any happier or any more adrenalin than on the super-fast stages through the Finnish forests.”

 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I cannot express how happy I am! My motivation coming into this rally and my desire to win were immense. After all the ups and downs I’ve been through this season, this victory means a huge amount. I would like to thank the entire team for its great work. They have always believed in me, even in times when things have not run so smoothly. As expected, today was a real rollercoaster and a perfect finale to the 2015 Rally Finland. Thank you very much to the fans for the support in the service park and along the route. I just want to enjoy the moment now!

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“We had set our sights very high for the Rally Finland. Above all, we wanted to defend second place in the World Championship – and to extend our advantage if possible. Unfortunately, however, today was not our day and we crashed out. My pace notes were a little too optimistic on the fifth stage. I lifted in a long left-hander with a slight crest, which can be taken flat-out in perfect conditions. However, that did not prove to be enough. We ran out of road and rolled several times. Fortunately the Polo R WRC is a very solid car and nothing serious happened to us. We are obviously very disappointed that the damage was too great to be able to repair it on-site. We will now look ahead and turn our full attention to Volkswagen’s home round in Germany.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“What a fantastic rally from Jari-Matti Latvala, Miikka Anttila, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. They were in a class of their own. Jari-Matti and Miikka are without any doubt the ‘Kings of Speed’, as nobody has ever been as fast as them on either asphalt or gravel. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have their first opportunity to wrap up the World Championship at the coming round in Germany. Anyone who knows them will also know that they do not like finishing second, and will be doing everything in their power to finish on top again in Germany. Although Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene had to retire following their crash on Friday, we are still extremely happy. We remain undefeated in Finland – the fastest rally on the calendar.”


Final classification after 20 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Total Time / Diff 1st  
1 J. Latvala / M. Anttila 2h 33m 03.8s  
2 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +13.7s  
3 M. Østberg / J. Andersson +1m 36.8s  
4 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +3m 58.7s  
5 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +4m 29.3s  
6 J. Hänninen / T. Tuominen +4m 44.3s  
7 M. Prokop / J. Tomanek +6m 20.3s  
8 E. Lappi / J. Ferm +7m 11.2s  
9 P. Tidemand / E. Axelsson +8m 52.2s  
10 L. Bertelli / L. Granai +9m 37.4s  

Number of the day

125.44

 

kilometres per hour – the highest average speed ever in the history of the World Rally Championship. This remarkable figure saw the Rally Finland smash its own previous record from 2012, when an average speed of 122.89 km/h was achieved. The Rally Finland now occupies nine places in the list of the top ten fastest rallies of all time – including the top four.


Day 3 in Finland.


Saturday, 01.08.2015


Rally Finland day 2. The video.


Images Day 2 (15)


Day Report

A big day for Latvala.

Just 28.26 kilometres stand between Jari-Matti Latvala and a win in his home rally. That’s two Special Stages and a short Sunday morning. Latvala is now 13.2 seconds ahead of his second-placed team-mate Sébastien Ogier, the reigning World Champion. After an almost perfect Saturday, JML is now well on the way to claiming victory at the Rally Finland for the second year in a row.

“What a day,” Latvala said after completing 131.04 Stage kilometres on Saturday. “It was really important. As expected, there was a two-way battle between Sébastien and me. And we didn’t go easy on one another. But we haven’t crossed the finishing line yet. There are still two challenging Stages left to tackle on Sunday.”

Latvala claimed the best time in five of Saturday’s eight Stages, with the remaining three going to Ogier. Spectators in Finland were treated to a high-speed showdown between Latvala and Ogier. At the end of the day, the World Champion was forced to admit: “Jari-Matti really did do a fantastic job. He more than deserves to be in the lead ahead of the final day and it will be virtually impossible to catch up with him now, unless he makes a mistake. If we ultimately finish in second place, that’s still a great result for the World Championship overall standings.”

However, none of them are home and dry yet – there are still 28.26 kilometres to go to the end of the Rally Finland 2015.


Classification after 18 of 20 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Total Time / Diff 1st  
1 J. Latvala / M. Anttila 2h 20m 20.6s  
2 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +13.2s  
3 M. Østberg / J. Andersson +1m 28.0s  
4 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +3m 26.5s  
5 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +4m 19.1s  
6 J. Hänninen / T. Tuominen +4m 21.0s  
7 M. Prokop / J. Tomanek +5m 41.2s  
8 E. Lappi / J. Ferm +6m 32.6s  
9 P. Tidemand / E. Axelsson +7m 55.9s  
10 L. Bertelli / L. Granai +8m 56.8s  

Quotes from the Volkswagen team

„We still have to finish the rally.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“It has been another good day for Julien and me, but unfortunately with a slight mistake in the afternoon. I damaged the rear-left rim a few kilometres into stage 16. After that, I was afraid I might have suffered a puncture. As a result, I was a little too cautious for a while. If I end up finishing second, that is still a fantastic result for the overall standings in the World Championship. And Jari-Matti has really done a fantastic job. He more than deserves to lead going into the final day. It will be almost impossible to catch him unless he makes a mistake. I think the fans have seen an exciting battle so far, in which both drivers have pushed themselves to the absolute limit.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“As expected, today was a close battle between Sébastien and me – and we were taking no prisoners out there. I tried to drive a clean line on the stages and not to drift too much. I managed that well, and increased my lead to over 13 seconds. That was far from easy, particularly on ‘Jukojärvi’, due to the heavy rain. We still have to finish the rally, and we have another two challenging stages tomorrow. I will have to keep my concentration and literally bring the victory home tomorrow.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“The duel between Latvala and Ogier is really to the taste of the fans and, of course, to the taste of Volkswagen. Jari-Matti Latvala produced a strong display today and gradually pulled clear at the top. He and Sébastien Ogier are in a class of their own here. They have clocked the fastest time on 17 of 18 special stages – that shows that they are dominating matters here. However, we still have another 30 kilometres to complete on Sunday and the whole team will have to remain error-free in order to make this impressive performance count.“


Number of the day

17 

 

A remarkable record: the Volkswagen drivers are setting a blistering pace that nobody else can match at the Rally Finland. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (F/F) and team-mates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) have won 17 of the 18 special stages so far. Last year’s runner-up Latvala has clocked the fastest time on nine occasions, with reigning world champion Ogier just behind on eight stage wins. Kris Meeke (Citroën) was the only driver on Friday to break Volkswagen’s dominance at this year’s Rally Finland.


Midday Report

With a bear in the rearview mirror.

 

They say that there are more than 188,000 lakes in Finland. It’s easy to believe that when you take a look at the map. But no one knows for sure how many bears there are in Finland – and the map’s not much use on that score. It will, however, help you to find SS 13 of the Rally Finland, which is known as Surkee because it passes close to a lake of the same name. One of Finland’s countless bears picked this very spot to make mischief on Saturday morning. A helicopter had to be called in to chase the hairy rallying fan away before the WRC drivers could get back behind the wheel.

With a clear road ahead of them and the bear behind them, Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier lost no time in getting back on track. They shared out the best times on Saturday morning’s four Stages between them, meaning that there is still very little between them in the battle for the top spot in the Rally Finland. Latvala is currently in the lead, with Ogier following just three seconds behind. Kris Meeke (Citroen) is in third place, 30.5 seconds behind Ogier. The drivers will tackle the four Special Stages again on Saturday afternoon. We will have to wait and see whether the bear will be back as well though.

 

Overall standings after SS 14:

 

1. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) 1h 48m 20.3s

2. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) +3.0s

3. Kris Meeke (Citroen) +33.5s

4. Mads Ostberg (Citroen) +47.0s

5. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) +2m 33.2s


Day 2 in Finland.


Friday, 31.07.2015


Rally Finland day 1. The video.


Images Day 1 (11)


Day report

Plenty of Sisu: Latvala takes the lead.

Volkswagen fans were a little overburdened on Friday of the rally in Finland. On the one hand, Jari-Matti Latvala tore across the finish line on the legendary Ouninpohja stage to claim the 400th stage win of his career and leapfrog ahead of team-mate Sébastien Ogier at the top of the overall standings at round eight of the WRC season. A truly remarkable effort. Rarely will you see greater Sisu, to use the Finnish word for courage, steely determination and nerves of steel.

On the other hand, Andreas Mikkelsen returned to the service park after crashing off the road at high speed on the fifth stage of the day, causing substantial damage – to put it mildly – to his Polo R WRC. Fortunately he and co-driver Ola Floene emerged from the incident uninjured. However, that was the end of the Rally Finland for the Norwegian duo. Rally fans were also keen to catch a glimpse of the battered Polo R WRC.

Those who saw Latvala’s performance were certainly treated to the most spectacular display. “It was great fun. I am particularly pleased to have made peace with ‘Ouninpohja’,” said JML. “I have never driven as well here as I did today. As a Finn, this stage is very prestigious, just as it is to lead your home rally.” Despite this, Ogier is still hot on his heels. The two-time world champion trails the leader by just 2.6 seconds going into Saturday, which features a further eight stages and 131.04 kilometres against the clock.

 

It is a well-known fact that the world champion does not give up on victory without a fight, and he made a statement of intent with the fastest time on the last stage of the day. Sisu is something that Ogier also possesses plenty of. As such, fans can look forward to a spectacular second day of rallying in Finland.


Classification after 10 of 20 stages

Position Driver / Co-driver Total Time / Diff 1st  
1 J. Latvala / M. Anttila +1h 16m 19.2s  
2 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia +2.6s  
3 K. Meeke / P. Nagle +24.0s  
4 M. Østberg / J. Andersson +34.1s  
5 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul +1m 49.6s  
6 D. Sordo / M. Martí +1m 52.3s  
7 J. Hänninen / T. Tuominen +2m 22.5s  
8 M. Prokop / J.Tománek +2m 46.6s  
9 E. Lappi / J. Ferm +3m 18.5s  
10 O. Tänak / R. Mõlder +3m 30.2s  

Number of the day

400

 

The rally driver’s equivalent of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is the spectacular gravel route through the forests around Jyväskylä. The iconic “Ouninpohja” special stage took on particular importance today. Latvala/Anttila reached another benchmark and set another personal best on the second loop. The Volkswagen duo claimed the 400th stage win of their career. A record speed of 132.18 km/h also saw Latvala/Anttila move into the overall lead, ahead of team-mates Ogier/Ingrassia.


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“It really was great fun today.“

 

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1

“I am very happy with my day here in Finland. The routes are fantastic, particularly ‘Ouninpohja’. This stage really is an experience and is probably the best special stage of the whole year. The speed, the many jumps and the rapid changes in direction make it feel like a rollercoaster ride. As a driver, you get one adrenalin rush after another over the entire 34.39 kilometres. It is just magnificent! Compliments to Jari-Matti Latvala, who has been impressive on home soil – as you would expect. If we are to beat him, Julien and I will have to push as hard as we can for the next two days. However, driving so close to the limit is not without its risks – as my team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen’s crash showed. It is lucky they both emerged unscathed – when it comes to it, that is the most important thing.”

 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2

“It really was great fun today. I am particularly pleased to have made peace with ‘Ouninpohja’. I have never driven as well here as I did today. As a Finn, this stage is very prestigious, just as it is to lead your home rally. However, we still have two long days ahead of us, and the routes will once again push us to the limit tomorrow. The key now is to keep our rhythm and a cool head.”

 

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9

“We had set our sights very high for the Rally Finland. Above all, we wanted to defend second place in the World Championship – and to extend our advantage if possible. Unfortunately, however, today was not our day and we crashed out. My pace notes were a little too optimistic on the fifth stage. I lifted in a long left-hander with a slight crest, which can be taken flat-out in perfect conditions. However, that did not prove to be enough. We ran out of road and rolled several times. Fortunately the Polo R WRC is a very solid car and nothing serious happened to us. We are obviously very disappointed that the damage is too great to be able to repair it on-site.”

 

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“Jari-Matti Latvala versus Sébastien Ogier – that was a fantastic duel here in Finland in 2014 too. And this battle is the main event again this year. We are obviously delighted that two Volkswagen drivers are scrapping for the lead. As always, our team philosophy is: may the best man win. However, we experienced both light and shadow today. Andreas Mikkelsen rolled his car at high speed and was forced to retire from the rally. However, the good news is that he and his co-driver Ola Fløene are fine – thanks in no small part to the fact that the Polo R WRC is a safe and solid car. The fact that the chassis will be ready to race again in Australia is further proof of this.”


Midday report

Like a man possessed.

 

Sébastien Ogier doesn't hold back when it comes to rallying. Right from the start of the Rally Finland, the double world champion had the high-speed spectacle in the forests around Jyväskylä so much under control that the Internet community was abuzz with rumours that Ogier was driving like a man possessed. Others thought he was out of this world. And Ogier really didn't make much contact with the ground on the first pass of the four special stages on Friday morning. After all, Finland is known for its numerous jumps and legendary World Rally Car flights. Ogier has a lead of 5.3 seconds over his Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in the overall standings at the midday break.

 

However, Latvala showed that it is not without reason that the rear of his Polo R WRC bears the hashtag #Sisu. This typical Finnish word means nerves of steel and audacity. Mastering the tricky stages in Finland requires both of these characteristics. Latvala proved that he can do this just last year when he won his home rally. After the 34.39-kilometre legendary Ouninpohja stage peppered with numerous difficult crests, JML knew that he was feeling the Finland mojo once again. "I'm happy," said Latvala. "I have never driven Ouninpohja as well as I did today." Perfect conditions for the second pass of Friday's stages.

 

Unfortunately, one of the Volkswagen team will be missing: Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian came off the track on the Himos stage and was unable to continue. His team of mechanics will repair the battered Polo R WRC this evening so that Mikkelsen can return to the thick of the action on Saturday.

 

Result after SS 5: 

 

1. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) 38m 27.9s

2. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) +5.3s

3. Kris Meeke (Citroën) +10.6s

4. Mads Ostberg (Citroën) +23.1s

5. Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) +29.1s


Day 1 in Finland.


Thursday, 30.07.2015


Rally Finland opening day. The video.


Images Opening Day (9)


Day review

Kiss left, kiss right and full throttle.

 

Mothers usually know what is best for their children. So mummy Ogier insisted on giving her offspring who goes by the name of Sébastien a kiss on each of his cheeks before he climbed into his Polo R WRC to take on the short 2.27-kilometre opening stage. Lo and behold, mum's kisses had the expected effect. After 58 drivers who started before him, Ogier Junior went full throttle to get the best time of the stage, which sees him lead the Rally Finland at the end of the opening day.

Kris Meeke (Citroen), who led the field for a long time, had to make do with second place, while Andreas Mikkelsen in the second Polo R WRC finished in third after a tidy pass. He trailed Ogier by just 0.8 seconds. Finland's local hero and last year's winner for Volkswagen, Jari-Matti Latvala, ended the short ride over the first stage in Finland in fifth place. But he is only 1.6 seconds off the top. The eighth round of the WRC season is now underway and can really get going on Friday, when 158.43 timed kilometres are scheduled.

As leader of the championship, Sébastien Ogier will be first to take to the track. And the competition has been warned. Mummy Ogier will be giving out kisses once again.

Result after SS 1:

1. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) 1.48,6 Min.

2. Kris Meeke (Citroën) 1.49,2 Min.

3. Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) 1.49,4 Min.

4. Robert Kubica (Ford) 1.49,7 Min.
5. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) 1.50,2 Min.

 


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

The Polo R WRC definitely feels right.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“The shakedown was more difficult than expected. I had thought that the grip would be better due to the heavy rain the day before. But it was still pretty slippery. The first pass almost ended badly for Julien and me. We came off the track and narrowly avoided having an accident. That was a real wake-up call. Later on, the track was slightly better in terms of grip. We are definitely extremely motivated to drive for the win here. Finland is one of my favourite rallies of all time – from the first time I ever drove a rally car here!”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“I am very pleased with the shakedown. It showed that we made the right decision for our basic setup. The conditions were difficult since the surface was very damp, which made it extremely slippery. Despite that, we managed to drive almost consistent times. The special stages are in good condition in general. I have a good feeling and can't wait for the rally to get started.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The shakedown was a good start to the Rally Finland since the stage was typical of what we can expect in the coming days. We did a lot of work on the set-up. We didn't have a perfect pass, but we are happy with second place. The Polo R WRC definitely feels right – bring on the Rally Finland!”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Standard Finland – that was the shakedown today. High speed and many long jumps require the drivers to trust their cars 100 percent and demand an extremely high level of driving precision. All three Volkswagen duos coped well with these unique conditions and are within a second of front-runner Mads Østberg. The Rally Finland promises to be very interesting. And we want to win it for the third time in a row. Our drivers and the whole team showed that they are in form in the shakedown.”


Shakedown report

Volkswagen duos at the front.

 

 

High speed, long jumps – the Volkswagen drivers started the rally weekend well at the shakedown in Finland. In the “free practice session” for the eighth WRC event of the season, Andreas Mikkelsen in the Polo R WRC got the second-fastest time. Last year's winner Jari-Matti Latvala finished the first competition in fourth place, forcing their Volkswagen team-mate Sébastien Ogier into fifth by just one tenth of a second – the smallest unit of time on the rally circuit. 

 

The 4.62-kilometre stage “Ruuhimäki” – the Power Stage at last year's Rally Finland – was a typical start to the fastest rally of the season. The best time of Mads Østberg signified an average speed of 124.77 km/h. Numerous jumps, called “Yumps” in Finland, also gave a foretaste of the “air race on four wheels” that gets underway on Thursday evening with the first sprint stage “Harju” in the rally centre of Jyväskylä. 

 

Shakedown result: 

 

1. Mads Østberg (Citroën) 2.13,3 Min.

2. Andreas Mikkelsen (Polo R WRC #9) 2.13,7 Min.

3. Robert Kubica (Ford) 2.13,8 Min.

4. Jari-Matti Latvala (Polo R WRC #2) 2.14,0 Min.

5. Sébastien Ogier (Polo R WRC #1) 2.14,1 Min.


Opening day in Finland.


Wednesday, 29.07.2015


Three questions for ... engine engineer Phil Barrett.

We are in the middle of the ‘speed weeks’ of the WRC, Poland is now behind us and we are looking ahead to Finland – what makes the Rally Finland magical for an engine engineer?
Phil Barrett: “Quite simply: it is all about speed. Finland is one of several rallies in which the engine performance is more crucial to the performance of the overall package of the World Rally Car than in other places. In addition to Finland, other rallies where this is the case include Mexico and Sweden. On top of this, Finland has the longest history and greatest tradition as a full throttle rally. Finland is the greatest challenge for the engine department, so to speak.”

What are the exact demands that the Rally Finland places on engines?
Phil Barrett: “You need as much horsepower as possible, that much is clear. But there is another, lesser known effect. According to the regulations, the speed of an engine must not exceed 8,500 rpm. Getting as close as possible to this value without exceeding it on the long, full throttle sections and on the many jumps sounds easier than it is. If the rpm is exceeded, an FIA system intervenes – extremely sharply and abruptly. So you need to make sure that you keep the maximum speed as high as possible without this system intervening. However, you can also lose five kilometres per hour at top speed if the engine control is too conservative.”

The Polo R WRC holds the record for speed on ‘Ouninpohja’. Do you think it will be broken this year?
Phil Barrett (laughs): “I would love to answer with a definite ’yes’. But I think that it depends on the circumstances of the rally. If it is as close again as it was in Poland, all the drivers will go at full throttle without compromise. And as far as the Polo R WRC is concerned, it has improved in all areas since 2013, which is when ’Ouninpohja’ was last held. The engine has developed further, but so have the aerodynamics and the chassis. The chassis in particular is what has improved the overall package – so in theory it is possible.”


Monday, 27.07.2015


Successful tests ahead of the Rally Finland.

Volkswagen has completed five days of testing around Jämsä, Finland. With the Rally Finland just around the corner (30th July – 2nd August), all three driver/co-driver pairings – Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) – have been preparing for “Formula One in the Forest” on three different sections of route. The test focussed on set-up work for the unique rally in central Finland.

The routes around Jyväskylä are renowned for their fast, flowing sections and many blind crests with big jumps. The average speed is usually above the 120 km/h mark. After the Rally Poland, the Rally Finland now forms part two of the “speed weeks” in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The one-two achieved by Ogier and Mikkelsen three weeks ago means Volkswagen is undefeated at the two fastest rallies on the WRC calendar.


Friday, 24.07.2015


Background

Full throttle at the “air race on four wheels”!

All four wheels in the air 77 times, a pure flight time of more than half a minute – the legendary stage ‘Ouninpohja’ returns to the ‘Neste Oil Rally Finland’. What the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is to racing drivers, this full throttle special stage through the forests around Jyväskylä is to rally drivers; which is where the eighth event of the World Rally Championship season will be held. The Volkswagen duo of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), who, as championship leaders, want to bring the Polo R WRC with car number one to victory once again in 2015, have held the record for speed on ‘Ouninpohja’ since 2013.

 

However, two of their many main rivals are their Volkswagen team-mates: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) line up with home advantage and as last year’s winners; Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) feel particularly at home on pacy tracks and are the double world champions and current leaders of the standings from France’s closest rivals in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ standings. Volkswagen are also unbeaten in the WRC rallies with the highest average speeds – Finland and Poland – since 2013 and head to the “air race on four wheels” with a healthy dose of self-confidence.

 

“Many like to describe the Rally Finland as ‘Formula 1 in the forest’,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “At Volkswagen we believe that ‘air race on four wheels’ is also an accurate description of the special features of this iconic rally. There is nowhere else in the rally world that the drivers experience as many crests and thereby as many long jumps. And there is nowhere else with gravel tracks at such high speed in the forest that are as narrow as in Finland. It’s all about driving precision here, about the drivers trusting their World Rally Cars, and about a perfect set-up. With Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, we not only believe that we have the best drivers, but with the Polo R WRC, we also have the best technical package for the Rally Finland. And that’s exactly what we want to prove for the third time in a row.”


Number for the Rally.

313.64

The 1.6-litre turbo engine in the Polo R WRC has to work extremely hard at the Rally Finland. At the maximum speed stipulated by the regulations of 8,500 rpm, each of the four pistons changes its direction of movement 17.7 times per second. At the maximum rotational speed, the pistons cover a total distance of 313.64 metres per minute. 


Quotes from the Volkswagen team

“It gives me an extra bit of motivation”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I took a few days’ holiday before the rally, which is always really good for clearing your head. It allows you to recharge your batteries midway through the season. As far as the Rally Finland is concerned, it is definitely one of my favourites on the calendar. You get a real feel for the speed in the car. We like to compare it to a roller coaster ride. It goes up and down the whole time, the track is virtually never level. There are many long jumps over blind crests. Often you can’t see where the track leads, which is why correct pace notes are extremely important. You also need to know how the car reacts when jumping over the crests so that you don't have any unpleasant surprises. There is a real highlight at the Rally Finland: the ‘Ouninpohja’ stage. If I were asked to compile a list of the best stages in the entire championship, ‘Ouninpohja’ would definitely be on it. Two years ago we drove the full length of it and I set a record time. I want to be right at the front again this year. However, that won’t be easy since the Finns are usually very strong at their home event. I’m expecting my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in particular to prove a challenge again this year. He is the man to beat.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“Finland is one of the most demanding and fastest rallies on the WRC calendar. Every jump is to be treated with caution. My team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen are currently in great form and will no doubt give it their all to get the win. But I want to do the same. That makes it even more important for me to drive with full concentration right from the first second and to fight for every metre. My goal: to experience this emotional moment on the winners’ podium from last year again. The Rally Finland was incredible for me back then. I will never forget the moment that I stood on the podium, held the winner’s trophy in my hand and all my fans were cheering me. The Rally Finland is my home event, which naturally gives that extra bit of motivation, but also puts you under pressure. In these moments my mental coach Christoph Treier is particularly important to me. He helps me to line up calmly and with a level head.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The last rally in Poland went very well for us. We maintained constant pressure on Ogier. Let’s see what we can achieve in Finland. I’m expecting the rally to be much more difficult for me. Poland was more or less new territory for all of the drivers. There were many new special stages. The Rally Finland, however, includes many traditional stages that many of the drivers are very familiar with. I have learned a lot in Finland over the years and believe that I can keep up with the front-runners. However, I would be more than satisfied with a podium spot. The many jumps over crests that are sometimes blind and that you take at incredible speed are what makes the Rally Finland demanding. I like it a lot. You need to align the car perfectly before the jumps so that you don’t land the wrong way and possibly come off the track. The pace notes have to be right, which is why the advance ‘recce’ is also extremely important. The highlight of the Rally Finland is the ‘Ouninpohja’ special stage. It is incredibly fast and demanding. The first 20 kilometres are particularly challenging. You travel at high speed over wide streets, it’s one jump after the next. During the ‘recce’ ahead of the rally it is difficult to estimate how fast you can actually drive over the crests since you aren’t allowed to exceed 70 km/h during the inspection. While during the rally you are driving at almost 200 km/h. The pace notes are the be-all and end-all here too. There is incredible respect for this special stage.”