Volkswagen off to a quick start at Rallye Monte-Carlo

by Matthew McMahon

It was an encouraging day 1 of Rallye Monte-Carlo for the Volkswagen Motorsport team as the three crews finished second, third and seventh on day 1. Reigning world champion Sébastien Ogier took a stage win on the second test to head into the overnight halt in second place just 13.3 seconds behind nine times world champion Sébastien Loeb.

Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia were the first crew to tackle the opening stage of the event and the treacherous conditions. The pair finished the test third fastest behind Loeb and the surprising Ott Tanak. The second test seemed more to his liking and the Frenchman finished the second test fastest by 10.7 seven seconds.

“Opening the route was anything but easy today. The conditions changed constantly, particularly on the first stage. Wet asphalt or black ice , you never knew exactly what was awaiting you. On the whole,there was little grip anywhere. As such,we took a particularly cautious approach and did not take any risks. That was clearly not the fastest method on the opening stage,but it was the right one.”

Jari-Matti Latvala had an eventful opening loop on the Rallye Monte-Carlo going eighth fastest on the opening test. The Finnish driver who is co-driven by Miikka Antilla said “The conditions are so tricky out there that it is easy to loose minutes.” On the second stage the VW driver struggled with an opening boot on his car but still managed to set the second fastest time to finish the day third 36.1 seconds off the lead.

Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floene, who are running a 2014 spec VW finished the day 59.9 seconds off the lead in seventh. “It was okay.” said Mikkelsen. “I’m playing it very carefully. Lots of black ice so I’m taking no risks. I have fitted two snow tyres and two with studs. I think it was the right choice.”

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