Volkswagen Motorsport, Sébastien Ogier (F), Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen (N) are set to continue their successful cooperation: Volkswagen has renewed its contracts with the men currently first, second and third in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Given the extremely successful partnership – every World Championship title* on offer in 2013 and 2014, and 38 WRC podiums, including 20 wins from 24 rallies – the contract extension is a logical step for all involved.
“We currently have the three best rally drivers in the world on our books,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Continuity is an important factor in any success in motorsport, and I am delighted to have been able to extend our cooperation with Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. Together with their co-drivers, all three are an essential part of Volkswagen’s overwhelming success in the World Rally Championship, and we are sure that we will enjoy much more success in the coming years with this team.”
World Champion Sébastien Ogier has been a member of Volkswagen’s rally team since 2012, when he prepared for the pinnacle of rallying with outings at the wheel of cars from group brand Škoda and intense tests with the Polo R WRC. And with great success: Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia (F) have not only won 15 of the 24 rallies they have started, but also won the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship in their first season with Volkswagen, as well as teaming up with Latvala/Anttila (FIN/FIN) to win the Manufacturers’ title for the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer – a feat they repeated in 2014, when they sealed the earliest title win in the Manufacturers’ Championship for 25 years. Jari-Matti Latvala has achieved 14 of his 46 podium finishes since switching to Volkswagen in January 2013. These include five wins alongside co-driver Miikka Anttila (FIN), the most recent of which in the form of a historic victory at the Rally France, when he became the first Finn to win on asphalt for over 15 years. With two rounds of the WRC remaining, in Spain (23–26/10) and Great Britain (13–16/11), Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila will battle it out amongst themselves for the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship.
Andreas Mikkelsen has far exceeded the high expectations many had of him this season. In the eleven rallies so far, the youngster has claimed five podiums, including second places on ice and snow (Sweden), gravel (Poland) and asphalt (France). Mikkelsen, with co-driver Ola Fløene (N) calling the shots, is on the cusp of securing third place in the 2014 World Drivers’ Championship with two rallies still to come.
Quotes on the contract extensions
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1 “Renewing the contract with Volkswagen is a completely logical step. The best team with the best car – there was no reason for me and Julien to want anything but what is far and away the best opportunity to battle for wins and World Championship titles. I am very pleased that we will continue to work with this team, in which we feel so comfortable and with whom we have enjoyed our greatest successes.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2 “I am delighted that my co-driver Miikka Anttila and I will continue to line up for Volkswagen in the future. To be able to drive for the best team and in the best car, you cannot ask for more as a rally driver. At Volkswagen I have everything I need to challenge for wins and titles, and I am very happy that the team continues to put its faith in us.”
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9 “To start alongside Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala for Volkswagen again in 2015, there is no better opportunity out there in rallying. You can learn from the best and, at the same time, compare yourself against them in the same car. I can look back on two extremely exciting years and a steep learning curve with Volkswagen. I am sure we will continue to develop together.”
* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.