A milestone for Volkswagen in motorsport: Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia (F/F) have won the Rally Sweden at the wheel of the Polo R WRC. In doing so, Volkswagen has already far exceeded its own expectations of what is the team’s debut season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In only its second competitive outing, the 315-hp World Rally Car from Wolfsburg emerged triumphant on the Scandinavian ice and snow against strong opposition – including nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb (Citroën).

volkswagen world rally championship

“Eleven best times from 22 special stages – Ogier and Ingrassia led the overall standings right from the word go, and refused to be shifted from the top spot until they reached the finish on Sunday afternoon. Ogier set the foundation for the success in qualification on Thursday, when he clocked the fastest time to finish seven places ahead of the multiple world champion. Loeb eventually ended the rally 41.8 seconds behind his fellow Frenchman. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) finished fourth in the second Polo R WRC to complete an outstanding team result for Volkswagen.

A special win: Sébastien Ogier’s eighth victory in the World Rally Championship

Sébastien Ogier and Volkswagen’s win at the Rally Sweden will take a special place in the history books of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC): Ogier’s eighth success is only the second by a central European at the Rally Sweden since 1950. Up until now, the event had been won almost exclusively by Nordic drivers – Sébastien Ogier joins multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb as only the second winner of the “Sweden” to come from outside of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Loeb was the first to break the Nordic countries’ stranglehold in 2004.

world rally championship

Ice, snow and cold – extreme weather, unique conditions

The Rally Sweden is one of a kind on the calendar of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). It is the only rally held exclusively on ice and snow. The teams use special Michelin “Sweden studs” and the winter specs for the World Rally Cars at the Rally Sweden, as well as special Castrol oils for the engine, gearbox and differentials. The Polo R WRC was surprisingly strong in the extraordinary conditions in Sweden: in total, the car picked up 28 top-three results over the course of the 22 special stages.

Power Stage turns the balance: Ogier takes over at the top of the World Rally Championship

Sébastien Ogier won the so-called Power Stage, which is making its first appearance this season, to move ahead in the overall WRC standings. Extra World Championship points are up for grabs for the drivers finishing first, second and third. Ogier now leads the Drivers’ Championship, three points ahead of Loeb.

The next round of the World Rally Championship takes place from 7th to 10th March in Mexico, with the rally centred around León.

Quotes, Day Three of the Rally Sweden

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7

“I am delighted for the entire Volkswagen team. To win a race so early in a debut season is something very special. I would have liked to finish on the podium myself. That was certainly possible here at the Rally Sweden with the Polo R WRC. However, I must still adapt my driving style a bit. Huge compliments go to my team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who showed just what was possible. He was really impressive all weekend. I will do everything in my power to get on a par with him at the forthcoming rallies.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8

“That is an indescribable feeling! We were screaming with joy in the car. It is simply incredible to claim the first victory for Volkswagen and the team at only our second rally. This is probably the greatest moment of my career. The Polo R WRC was perfect the entire time. The guys did a fantastic job of preparing the car. So much can happen in Sweden. The conditions in the snow are so difficult – winning here, as only the second central European and ahead of the best rally driver of all time, makes me enormously proud. We had to give 100 per cent, right down to the final day, because Sébastien Loeb was really going for it right through to the finish. I feared that he would make up more time this morning, particularly on the opening ‘Mitandersfors’ stage. However, that was not the case. Now I am just overjoyed.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director

“This is a big day for Volkswagen in motorsport. To win the second round of the World Championship under our own steam is a real milestone. The Rally Sweden is one of a kind. The Polo R WRC worked perfectly in these conditions, and Sébastien Ogier took full advantage. He was in a class of his own here. However, Jari-Matti Latvala also performed well. Within the team, all the cogs fit into place perfectly. Today I am just very proud of the guys.”

And then there was …

… Sébastien Ogier’s car engineer Gerard Jan de Jongh. The Dutchman has waited seven years for his first WRC victory as the engineer responsible for the car. Today that dream came true. However, de Jongh will not be up all night partying – he has been down with a bad dose of the flu since Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia crossed the finish line.

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Sweden – Results
Thursday, 07 February 2013 km #7 Latvala/Anttila #8 Ogier/Ingrassia
SS 01 Karlstad 1 1.90 P02(+0.5s) P09(+2.5s)
Friday, 08 February 2013 km #7 Latvala/Anttila #8 Ogier/Ingrassia
SS 02 Lesjöfors 1 15.00 P02(+ 2.2s) P01
SS 03 Värmullsåsen 1 23.77 P04(+ 9.2s) P01
SS 04 Vargåsen 1 24.63 P03(+ 1.6s) P02(+ 0.1s)
SS 05 Lesjöfors 2 15.00 P03(+ 5.9s) P01
SS 06 Värmullsåsen 2 23.77 P04(+ 7.3s) P01
SS 07 Vargåsen 2 24.63 P04(+ 9.6s) P01
SS 08 Karlstad 2 1.90 P03(+ 0.5s) P06(+ 1.1s)
Overall classification 130.60 P03(+ 33.1s) P01
Saturday, 09 February 2013 km #7 Latvala/Anttila #8 Ogier/Ingrassia
SS 09 Sågen 1 14.23 P04(+ 6.8s) P01
SS 10 Fredriksberg 1 18.15 P01 P05(+ 5.0s)
SS 11 Rämmen 1 22.76 P04(+ 5.9s) P03(+ 2.7s)
SS 12 Hagfors Spr. 1 1.87 P08(+ 4.0s) P04(+ 3.1s)
SS 13 Sågen 2 14.23 P03(+ 4.5s) P01
SS 14 Fredriksberg 2 18.15 P05(+ 10.8s) P01
SS 15 Rämmen 2 22.76 P05(+ 8.1s) P01
SS 16 Hagfors Spr. 2 1.87 P05(+ 2.5s) P02(+ 1.1s)
Overall classification 114.02 P04(+ 1m 03.8s) P01
Sunday, 10 February 2013 km #7 Latvala/Anttila #8 Ogier/Ingrassia
SS 17 Mitandersfors 27.07 P03(+ 14.9s) P02(+ 3.3s)
SS 18 Finnskogen 1 16.82 P04(+ 4.9s) P02(+ 1.4s)
SS 19 Kirkenær 1 7.16 P05(+ 3.7s) P02(+ 1.5s)
SS 20 Kirkenær 2 7.16 P03(+ 6.5s) P01
SS 21 Finnskogen 2 16.82 P03(+ 3.3s) P02(+ 1.3s)
SS 22 Torsby 7.16 P02(+ 0.9s) P01
Overall classification 94.29 P04(+ 1m 03.6s) P01

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Sweden – Final results
1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 3h 11m 41.9s
2. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (F/MC), Citroën + 41.8s
3. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford + 1m 24.5s
4. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen + 1m 30.6s
5. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford + 5m 06.4s
6. Juho Hänninen/Tomi Tuominen (FIN/FIN), Ford + 5m 43.1s
7. Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst (CZ/CZ), Ford + 11m 25.4s
8. Henning Solberg/Emil Axelsson (N/S), Ford + 11m 42.7s

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Rally Sweden –Powerstage
1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 9m 54.1s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen + 0.9s
3. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford + 3.2s

FIA World Rally Championship standings – Drivers’ Championship     Points
1. Sébastien Ogier 46
2. Sébastien Loeb 43
3. Mads Østberg 24
4. Dani Sordo 15
5. Jari-Matti Latvala 14
6. Mikko Hirvonen 12
6. Martin Prokop 12
8. Bryan Bouffier 10
8. Thierry Neuville 10
10. Juho Hänninen 8