One-two at the “Monte,” the third in a row for driver, co-driver and team – Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia enjoyed a magnificent success at the Rally Monte Carlo. Their team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger finished runner-up to complete a Volkswagen one-two and round off a dream start to the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The latest victory marked the 35th triumph in 40 rallies for the Polo R WRC the 33rd career win for Ogier and Ingrassia, while Mikkelsen racked up his 15th podium finish. Furthermore, Mikkelsen’s new co-driver Anders Jæger crowned his debut in the top category of the World Rally Championship with his first podium. This is something that no other WRC co-driver in the current field can claim to have achieved.
Ogier has now joined this elite circle of rally legends – as the fifth driver in the history of the World Rally Championship to win the Rally Monte Carlo three times in succession. He emerged triumphant with Volkswagen in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 318-horsepower Polo R WRC joins the Porsche 911, Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta, Mitsubishi Lancer and Citroën Xsara as the sixth model of car with three “Monte” wins in a row to its name. With 35 victories from 40 rallies, the Polo R WRC is also the most successful car in rally history, thanks to an impressive win ratio of 87.5 percent.
The Rally Monte Carlo is unique on the World Rally Championship calendar. And the 2016 rally lived up to its reputation as perpetually unpredictable. With 16 special stages and 377.59 kilometers against the clock, the drivers had to get the tire selection just right. Thankfully, the three Volkswagen duos could rely on their route note cars. The “ice spy” for winner Ogier was Simon Jean Joseph, Andreas Mikkelsen was given valuable advice by Bernt Kollevold, and Jari-Matti Latvala was able to call on Toni Gardemeister for assistance. Their information helped the Volkswagen drivers make intelligent decisions – none more so than Mikkelsen, who was the only driver to take more spiked tires with him on Sunday and gained time on his rivals as a result.
The Power Stage, on which bonus points are awarded to the fastest three drivers and co-drivers, has always been Volkswagen’s playground. The Rally Monte Carlo saw Ogier and Ingrassia win this special stage for the 26th time, adding points 151 to 153 to Volkswagen’s account. Mikkelsen finished third to add point number 154.
For Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, the Rally Monte Carlo came to a disappointing end on Sunday. The duo came off the road on stage 11, skidding into a ditch and out into a field on the other side. In the process, light impact was made with a spectator, who was thankfully unhurt. Damage to the car resulted in Latvala and Anttila arriving late at the checkpoint ahead of the following special stage, bringing their rally to a premature end. The Finnish duo was subsequently fined for not stopping at the scene of the incident, as stipulated in the regulations. The stewards also handed Latvala and Anttila a suspended sentence, which will only come into effect should they be found guilty of another breach of regulations. The driver, co-driver and team have accepted the penalty.
Emotional moment for ogier
“Winning here in Monte Carlo is such an emotional moment for me! It is just an indescribable feeling to win this iconic rally for the third time. The conditions were so tricky. It was so icy and slippery. I am really happy with this success. I would like to thank the entire team, which did a fantastic job this weekend. My ice spies were awesome. Jean Joseph Simon was doing the job for me for the first time here at the ‘Monte’. It was really tough for them to provide us with accurate predictions regarding the state of the roads. The Polo ran superbly. Then there were the many, many fans cheering on Julien and me – it was just a perfect weekend!” Ogier said after the race.