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From zero to world champions!

The path to the first WRC title for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.

Starting signal.

5 May 2011.

Volkswagen Motorsport officially announces it is joining the World Rally Championship (WRC). At this point, the Polo R WRC is nothing more than a draft on paper. But four months later, the show car makes its debut at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.

Testing, testing.

January 2012.

Sébastien Ogier takes a break from the WRC to focus fully on the development of the Polo R WRC. In addition to conducting tests in the prototype all over the world, Ogier competes in all of the WRC events with the exception of Rally New Zealand in a Škoda Fabia S2000. Various Polo R WRC parts are installed in this vehicle to be put through their paces.

BEARERS OF SECRETS.

November 2012.

The prototype of the Polo R WRC in action: only the team members know just how much work has gone on under the chassis, most of which is made of a carbon fibre/Kevlar composite. After all, you don’t want to show the opposition your hand too early on in proceedings. The team has no choice but to reveal more secrets at the end of November 2012: Volkswagen Motorsport must submit the technical documentation for the Polo R WRC to the FIA International Automobile Federation in Paris. A little while later, the fully-developed Polo R WRC is set to cause quite a stir in the 2013 rally season.

The big reveal.

8 December 2012.

Volkswagen Motorsport unveils the finished Polo R WRC and introduces its drivers and co-drivers in Monte Carlo. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are joined by Jari-Matti Latvala and his co-driver Miikka Anttila in the 2013 WRC season. Andreas Mikkelsen and his Finnish co-driver Mikko Markkula are likewise officially introduced, but their season doesn’t get under way until Rally Portugal.

A perfect start.

20 January 2013.

What a debut! In his first attempt for Volkswagen Motorsport, Sébastien Ogier succeeds in clinching a podium position in Rally Monte Carlo, finishing second overall and winning the very first special stage of the season.

At the top.

10 February 2013.

In just the second rally of the season, Volkswagen Motorsport makes it to the top of the podium. On the icy tracks of Rally Sweden, Sébastien Ogier manages to push his fellow Frenchman and world record holder Sébastien Loeb into second place. The sceptics who think this is nothing more than a flash in the pan soon learn otherwise, because the run of successes continues.

Second Act

10 March 2013.

Ogier also wins in Mexico and the Polo R WRC completes its first gravel rally with flying colours.

New goals.

14 April 2013.

Ogier’s success in Rally Portugal then completes the hat-trick and impressively demonstrates what he and the Polo R WRC are capable of. In addition, Jari-Matti Latvala finishes in third place. These successes even come as a surprise to everyone at Volkswagen Motorsport. The original goal for the season – simply to take part and learn – is revised. It becomes clear that Sébastien Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport are now in it to win it.

Halfway rankings.

22 June 2013.

Ogier wins at Rally Italy and the WRC season takes a break at the halfway point. At this point, the Polo R WRC has won 69 out of the season’s total of 120 special stages, equating to more than 57 per cent of the special stages held so far. Sébastien Ogier now already has an impressive lead of 64 points over the driver in second place.

Dream a little dream.

3 August 2013.

It’s a dream come true for Ogier when he wins Rally Finland as only the fifth non-Scandinavian to do so in the event that has been running since 1951. He follows in the footsteps of the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, the Estonian Markko Märtin and the two Frenchmen Didier Auriol and Sébastien Loeb. Ogier loves Rally Finland and has always dreamt of winning it. So it’s now time for some new dreams.

So close to clinching the title.

15 September 2013.

Wins in 19 out of 22 special stages and three points in the Power Stage too – everything ran like clockwork for Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia in Rally Australia. The French pair even had the championship title in the bag before the end of the season until just shortly before the end of the rally. But then second-placed Mikko Hirvonen of Finland (Citroën) was struck by a flat tyre on the final metres of the last special stage, causing him to forfeit what he thought was a guaranteed second place to the Belgian Thierry Neuville (Ford). As a result, Neuville is once again theoretically in with a chance of clinching the championship title, so the celebrations had to be postponed. Ogier and Ingrassia, who were already celebrating their presumed win, learned of the dramatic events via the radio link and were initially disappointed. But this disappointment was soon outweighed by their delight at achieving their sixth win of the season. The WRC title is now just one point away.

World champions.

3 October 2013.

What a victory! Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia have won the WRC Drivers’ Championship – and before the Rally France had even really got going: the French pair scored one point on the Strasbourg Power Stage, which forms the opening leg of the rally in the Alsace region. As such, the two Volkswagen drivers now hold an unassailable lead at the top of the World Championship. The team in Polo R WRC #8 then even achieves a double victory: Ogier and Ingrassia clinch the win at Rally France. Hats off to Séb and Julien!