VW Triumphs in WRC Poland
An exciting meeting saw the victory at the WRC handed to Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger in a contest that went right down to the wire. The duo in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC snatched victory from the M-Sport Ford of Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder at the last minute after a puncture slowed the long-time leader. The victory has worked to the favour of the VW WRC team with Mikkelsen and Jæger closing the gap to fellow Volkswagen pair of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, who finished sixth.
Throughout the meeting the Volkswagen pair kept the Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder car honest, finishing in the top three on 15 of the 21 special stages. Their performance was particularly remarkable as on the first two days of the meeting the pair were third out on course, meaning they were effectively sweeping the roads clear for subsequent competitors. Changeable weather also created difficult conditions in Poland, with Friday and Saturday being searingly hot creating a very loose surface, followed by torrential rain on Sunday. Despite the difficult conditions the faced by the field on Sunday, the opening two days’ weather meant Rally Poland was completed at an average speed of over 106km/h (66mph) making it one of the fastest rallies on the calendar.
Luck was on the side of the VW pair when on the penultimate stage, their dogged determination to keep up with the Ford of Tänaka and Mõlder meaning that when the Estonian pair picked up a puncture, the Polo R WRC was able to take the lead. The victory means that at this, the half way point in the season, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia top the WRC standings with VW team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger 51 points adrift of the three-time world champions.
Mikkelsen said of the event, “What a fantastic end to a crazy rally. We gave it everything we could, right from the word go. That was the only way we could compensate for having to take to the route so early. We knew that we could still get another chance to challenge for the win in today’s unpredictable conditions. When that chance came along, we took it. To win the rally is simply fantastic, as it is the first win together with my co-driver Anders Jæger. We are friends and have been through so much together. This is very special. However, I feel for Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder, who were denied victory by a puncture so close to the finish. I experienced similar in Sweden last year.”
The next round sees the Volkswagen Polo R WRC take to the equally fast, sweeping sages of Finland from the 28th to the 30th of July.