Castrol-backed Volkswagen Motorsport impresses on WRC debut
Castrol-backed Volkswagen Motorsport has impressed on debut of the opening FIA World Rally Championship round of 2013 – Rallye Monte-Carlo with the team finishing second behind winner Sebastein Loeb.
Since the second stage of the event Loeb was never headed winning ahead of Sebsatien Ogier on the debut of the Volkswagen Polo R, with the other DS3 of Dani Sordo in third.
The four day event was a tricky affair with freezing temperatures bringing plenty of snow and ice, plus on the final day – rain.
The final day had a sting in the tail with heavy snow on the 1606-metre summit of the famous Col de Turini and it took its toll with third-placed Ford Fiesta RS of Castrol backed Evgeny Novikov, Jari-Matti Latvala’s (fifth place) Volkswagen Polo R and eighth placed Juho Hanninen (Ford) all crashing on the first of the scheduled three runs over the Col.
Tyre selection was irrelevant as drivers emerged in a state of shock, describing conditions as the most difficult they had experienced.
“We have already achieved more at the Rally Monte Carlo than we could ever have dreamed of beforehand,” said Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.
“Both driver/co-driver pairings have done a great job so far. Sébastien Ogier backed up the fantastic results of the first two days of the ‘Monte’ with more top times.”
Castrol EDGE-backed Qatar M-Sport’s Mads Østberg put in a sterling performance on his Monte debut to claim sixth place and get his championship campaign off to a solid start.
M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC proved competitive throughout the rally with each of the four Qatar M-Sport drivers taking a fastest time from the event – Thierry Neuville on Shakedown, Evgeny Novikov on SS6 and SS7, Juho Hänninen on SS9 and Østberg on SS12.
Equally inspiring, Novikov had been running in a strong podium position before succumbing to the perfidious conditions lying in wait through the fearsome ‘Col de Turini’ stage on the 14th test.
The second run over the French Alps was won by Loeb, this time in darkness. With crews set to face one more run, organisers cancelled the final two late night stages of the event after spectator numbers swelled on the Col de Turini and gridlock even blocked the roads which safety crews would have needed to access the stages.
Sebastien Loab speaks after the final stage
Highlights from the morning stages
Rallye Monte-Carlo : Final results
|5.||Bryan Bouffier||PH Citroen||+8:13.1|
|6.||Mads Ostberg||Qatar M-Sport Ford||+12:03.7|
|7.||Martin Prokop||Czech Ford||+23:27.3|
|8.||Sepp Wiegand||Skoda Deutschland||+29:34.5|
|9.||Olivier Burri||Offshore Peugeot||+35:38.4|
|10.||Michal Kosciuszko||Italia Mini||+36:28.0|