Excellent starting position for Volkswagen at the Rally Greece: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) set the fastest time in qualifying for the “Acropolis” to earn first choice of starting position. Their team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) were just behind in sixth and ninth in the remaining two Polo R WRCs. Sébastien Ogier opted to start the opening leg of the Rally Greece eleventh, making him the last of the drivers in the top WRC category. Jari-Matti Latvala will be the fourth man out onto the route, right behind Andreas Mikkelsen, who starts third.
The fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) starts with the opening two special stages on Friday evening. Volkswagen will provide further information and quotes from day one of the Rally Greece immediately after the “Kineta” night stage (start: 21:26 hrs local time).
Quotes after qualifying for the Rally Greece
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“Ninth is obviously not the result we were after. Unfortunately this means we will have to start very near the front of the field this evening, and will basically be sweeping the route clean for the cars after us. The qualifying stage was very sandy and soft, and deep ruts formed. I had problems steering and sticking to the ideal racing line in these ruts. That was my first time in the Polo R WRC on such soft ground, and we will have to reconsider the set-up of my car before the start.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“A good qualifying for us. We saw during the Recce just how important qualifying could be this time over the course of the rally. There is a lot of loose gravel on the special stages. As such, it is enormously important to have a clean line, particularly as the field only includes eleven World Rally Cars this time. I took a few more risks than usual and gave everything to ensure I was able to select the final starting position, and it paid off.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“Qualifying went well for us. A lot of dust found its way into the cockpit, which made it hard to see. At one point I veered off the line. Apart from that, it was a clean run. As such, sixth place is a good result for us. The Rally Greece is definitely the biggest challenge we will face this season. We are ready. I am particularly looking forward to this evening’s night stage, which is something very special. Over the course of the entire rally it will be important to find the fight balance between saving material and attacking. Our minimum goal is, obviously, to reach the finish here in Loutraki on Sunday.”
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“We have made a successful start to the Rally Greece. Sébastien Ogier opened up with a perfect run and has chosen to start last. We face a big challenge for man and machine here at the ‘Acropolis Rally’. The starting order is extremely important. Compliments also to Andreas Mikkelsen, who is improving bit by bit. Sixth place is a fantastic result for him. With the team’s interests in mind and an eye on the Manufacturers’ Championship, he selected a poor start position in front of Jari-Matti Latvala, in order to allow his team-mate a better starting position. Jari-Matti Latvala was not particularly happy with the set-up today. Despite this, we are happy with the team result.”
And then there was …
… one section of the Rally Greece, which the competitors tackle four times on three different routes. On Friday, the World Rally Cars tackled the gravel route to the east of the rally base in Loutraki, between Platavos and Polita, as part of the first and the longest special stage of the “Acropolis”, the “Kineta-Pissia”. The evening’s shorter “Kineta” variant and Sunday’s “Loutraki”, which forms the twelfth and 14th stages, also take the drivers along the same stretch.
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC),
Rally Greece – TV broadcast
Andorra (Canal +); Austria (LAOLA1.tv, ORF, ServusTV); Belgium (RTBF); Denmark (VIASAT); Finland (MTV3, YLE Sport); France (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21, TF1); Germany (Sport1, RTL, n-tv, LAOLA1.tv, ServusTV); Greece (OTE); Ireland (Setanta); Italy (RAI, Canale Italia, Sportitalia); Monaco (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21, TF1); Netherlands (RTL 7); Norway (VIASAT); Portugal (Sport TV, RTP); Spain (Canal +); Sweden (SVT); Wales (S4C)
Czech Republic (Czech TV, Sport 5); Poland (TVP); Romania (Dolce Sport); Russia (Auto Plus); Slovakia (Czech TV, Sport 5); Ukraine (First Automotive Channel)
Malaysia (Astro); Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam (ESPN Star); Japan (J Sports); New Zealand (Sky Sports); Australia (Speed TV); Thailand (Truevision)
North and Latin America
Argentina (Channel 12); Brazil (ESPN); Latin America (Fox Sports)
Worldwide (Reuters, SNTV)