Jari Matti Latvala

A great day for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, a great day for Volkswagen, and a great day for Finland: for the first time in four years, a Finnish duo triumphed in their home event in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), giving their compatriots reason to celebrate with abandon. Latvala/Anttila won ‘their’ rally in the Polo R WRC in what proved to be a veritable thriller all the way to the finishing line, clinching victory over their teammates Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) by just 3.6 seconds. Volkswagen’s excellent team success in the toughest rally of the year was rounded off by Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) finishing in fourth place overall. Volkswagen has therefore equalled its best team result to date in the WRC, which it set at Rally Argentina in May. The rally known as ‘Formula 1 in the forest’ marks the twelfth consecutive rally win for the Wolfsburg-based team, and is also its eighth win in the current season. Ahead of Rally Germany, Volkswagen therefore is poised to clinch all three WRC championship titles – for the manufacturer, the driver and the co-driver.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend at Rally Finland,” said Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development, who was in Finland to support the Volkswagen team. “Both Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier dominated 25 of the 26 special stages and the final day of the rally couldn’t have been more exciting. There was no knowing who would actually win the rally until they finally crossed the line. The Power Stage once again demonstrated what the team and the Polo R WRC are capable of. We are very happy with the result in Finland and congratulate Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila on this huge success in front of a home crowd.”

Thanks to its one-two victory in Finland, Volkswagen has extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) to 175 points over their closest rival Citroën. This therefore gives Volkswagen its first match point ahead of the brand’s own home event, Rally Germany: if it succeeds in defending a 172-point lead, the manufacturers’ championship title will go to Wolfsburg for the second year in a row. The German rally could also be a decider in favour of Volkswagen in the drivers’ standings too: following Rally Finland, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have a lead of 121 points over the best non-Volkswagen duo, Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S, Citroën). If they still have a lead of 112 points after Rally Germany, it will definitely be a Volkswagen duo who will celebrate victory in the drivers’ and co-drivers’ standings. Ogier/Ingrassia are currently in the lead on 187 points, followed by their teammates Latvala/Anttila (143 points) and Mikkelsen (95 points).

“This win in Finland is a very special moment for Miikka and me. We last managed to do this in 2010, and this win feels twice as good considering our disappointing result last year. I had a good feeling in the Polo R WRC right from the start of the rally, and the car was set up perfectly once again. So a big thank-you to my team for their excellent work. And I would, of course, also like to thank all the fans who supported Miikka and me throughout the rally here in Finland. This win was a tough cookie, though. We were in a bit of a predicament on Saturday evening when we were no longer able to use one of our brakes. Nevertheless, we didn’t give up and we kept on fighting. I’m really very happy about this result.” added Jari-Matti Latvala.

Results

1. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen 2h 57m 23.2s
2. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen + 3.6s
3. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën + 50.6s
4. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), Volkswagen + 1m 52.5s
5. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Ford + 2m 49.7s
6. Juho Hänninen/Tomi Tuominen (FIN/FIN), Hyundai + 4m 29.0s
7. Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (GB/GB), Ford + 5m 25.8s
8. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ), Hyundai + 6m 17.8s
9. Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (N/A), Ford + 12m 07.0s
10. Karl Kruuda/Martin Jarveoja (EST/EST), Ford + 14m 44.7s

Source: Volkswagen
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

August 4, 2014 World Rally Championship

Jari Matti Latvala WRC Suecia

Jari-Matti Latvala won his third Rally Sweden today when he led home Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen by 53.6 seconds.

Latvala took the lead yesterday in his Polo R but could only relax when Mikkelsen dropped time after sliding into a snowbank this morning. The Finn now heads the WRC standings after round two of 13.

Third was Mads Ostberg in a Citroen DS3, a further 5.9 seconds behind.

Ostberg claimed three bonus points by claiming fastest time through the final Power Stage. Latvala took two points and Mikko Hirvonen one.

Source: Red Bull Content Pool, WRC.com

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

February 8, 2014 World Rally Championship