Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia conquered the challenging Scandinavian ice and snow to score the first victory for the Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC at Rally Sweden in the 2013 World Rally Championship. The duo took eleven best times out of 22 special stages dominating the whole rally as they sped off the starting line aboard the 315-horsepower rally car from Wolfsburg.
Ogier’s eighth career victory did not come unchallenged especially with nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb chasing behind aboard his Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team DS3. However Ogier set the pace right in qualifying as he clocked the fastest time finishing seven places ahead of defending champion. At the end of the stages, Ogier found himself 41.8-seconds ahead of Loeb. Norwegian driver Mads Ostberg and Jonas Andersson finished third in a Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS, 42.7-seconds behind Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, both Finnish, took fourth in the second Polo R WRC to complete a successful round for Polo’s maiden season.
"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," exclaimed Ogier.
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. It has been dominated by mostly Nordic drivers since 1950. Ogier is only the second driver from Central Europe to have won the event aside from multiple champion and fellow Frenchman Loeb who broke the ‘Nordic stranglehold’ in 2004.
Ogier also won Power Stage, which officially makes its debut this season to take the championship lead edging Loeb by three points. The Power Stage is a short final stage of each rally aimed at better television coverage that awards bonus points to the top three drivers with 3, 2, and 1 extra points; respectively.
The next round of the World Rally Championship will be held in Mexico from March 7 to 10, with the rally centered around León.