I believe Volkswagen knew their potential and had at least some kind of idea about the actual pace compared to the Citroëns and Qatars, but to some extent they needed to see all the cars in action to be able to finally compare some solid numbers. And when they did, I bet they sighed with relief. Not only did they have performance, but they also had reliability and raw pace, right from the start.
Tens of thousands of test kilometers converted into great result in Monte Carlo. Despite not being able to challenge Sebastien Loeb for outright victory, Volkswagen can only get better over the course of the season. It was an impressive start to 2013 campaign, and that was exactly what WRC needed.
Below are some of the reactions from VW, namely, Sebastien Ogier, Jost Capito and Jari-Matti Latvala.
Quotes, day four of the Rally Monte Carlo
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“Second place in the first rally of the new Polo R WRC is more than we could have expected. The team did an exceptional job in the last four rally days and prepared the cars perfectly. The Rally Monte Carlo is the most complex event in the calendar and the team has here shown that they are ready for the World Rally Championship. There was no mistake, not the slightest problem. One cannot value the performance of Sébastien Ogier high enough. He drove the ‘Monte’ for in a World Rally Car the first time. There is no other rally in which the driver’s impact on the result is bigger. That is why we will not see where we stand with the Polo R WRC until after the upcoming events.”
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“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. Especially today, during the first run to the Col de Turini, it was extremely slippery, so that speeds of more than 20 kph were not possible. 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. I am sorry for Jari-Matti but I am sure that we will celebrate further victories together for Volkswagen in the future.”
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“I am very disappointed. There was more wet snow in the first run through the Col de Turini stage than I expected. I was too fast right in the beginning, the car did not turn as expected, and I crashed heavily. Another car had slipped there before I did and I hit the same lane. There was nothing I could do. It was my goal to gather lots of experience with the Polo R WRC. It is bitter to end the rally this way. I am sorry for the guys because they prepared the cars brilliantly. I really wanted to give them a points result.”