It wasn’t quite the perfect debut for Volkswagen’s new Polo R WRC car, but it wasn’t far off.
After worsening weather forced the rally to be cancelled with two stages to go, Sébastien Ogier had to settle for the second step of the podium, finishing behind the Citroën of fellow Frenchman Sébastien Loeb, who was celebrating his seventh Monte Carlo victory. Now driving for Citroën, ex-MINI pilot Dani Sordo rounded off the top three, while Ogier’s Finnish team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was looking good for a top five place, but the extreme conditions caught him out, along with a few others. The slush and large ice pieces at the legendary Col de Turini saw Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila sliding out of the rally and into retirement on special stage 14.
Impressively, the #8 car of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia posted the fastest time on the first special stage, Moulinon – the longest in the event at 37.1 kilometres. They repeated the feat on the fifth special stage, La Batie D’Andaure, and completed top-three times in 14 of the 16 special stages.
“I never was as happy about a second place as I was today. To reach the podium in our debut with the Polo R WRC is just great. These were probably the most difficult conditions in a Rally Monte Carlo I have ever experienced. It was just about keeping the car on the road. The entire team worked very hard during the last year, and I am happy to give something back to them,” said an upbeat Sébastien Ogier.
2013 Rally Monte Carlo – Final results after SS16
1. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena, Citroën 5h 18m 57.2s
2. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, Volkswagen + 1m 38.9s
3. Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio, Citroën + 3m 49.1s
4. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen, Citroën + 5m 26.3s
5. Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri, Citroën + 8m 13.1s
6. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson, Ford + 12m 03.7s
7. Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst, Ford + 23m 27.3s
8. Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian, Škoda + 29m 34.5s
[Source: Volkswagen Motorsport]