Fresh from its major success in their first year in the World Rally Championship (WRC), Volkswagen is set to kick-start their title defence of the WRC 2014 season. With that, the “Project Title Defense” was launched by Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn prior the team’s send-off to Rally Monte Carlo, the first leg of the rally, which begins from 14 to 19 January.
In a symbolic gesture, the 315-hp Polo R WRC rolled over the start ramp in front of the main Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg. Prof. Dr. Winterkorn was there in person to wave the starting flag as the team departed for the first round of the WRC in Monte Carlo. Volkswagen’s challenge in 2014 will be spearheaded by current driver’s world champion, Sébastien Ogier with Julien Ingrassia as his co-driver. The second car will be driven by Jari-Matti Latvala with Miikka Anttila as his co-driver. Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Mikko Markkula will drive the third Polo-R car. Together the three entries will spearhead Volkswagen’s 2014 title defence in the WRC, facing off Citroen, Ford and newcomers, Hyundai.
In 2013, Frenchman Sébastien Ogier won an impressive nine out of thirteen rounds in the WRC, making him a worthy successor to France’s rally legend, Sébastien Loeb. It’s look like the name ‘Sébastien’ is the name to have motor racing as previously, Sébastien Loeb won the WRC’s driver titles from 2004-2012, and of course there’s certain namesake in F1 that’s annihilating everyone else.
Quote from Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn,
Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG
“The entire Volkswagen team performed magnificently in 2013 and won all three titles in the WRC. The key now is to follow on from this success. That means no arrogance or complacency, but maximum concentration and desire to win once again. If the team is able to heed this advice, we could do even better this year. That will obviously not be easy. Winning the titles was a milestone for the Volkswagen brand. Motorsport is not an end in itself for us – we compete to demonstrate the outstanding quality and innovation of our brand and our cars. The Polo R WRC is, after all, based on a production chassis that is manufactured in Pamplona. The fact that we won the championship in such dominant fashion makes the entire Volkswagen brand shine that little bit brighter.”
Quote from Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer,
Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development
“The WRC is a very near to my heart. The Polo R WRC’s first year was simply breath-taking and demonstrated the performance of our products at the very highest level of competition for production-based vehicles. When developing the Polo R WRC, our engineers on the production side worked very closely with the motorsport department. That was not only a good experience for both sides, but was also extremely successful. On the one hand, because the motorsport engineers confronted their colleagues from production development with fascinating questions that do not always come up when developing cars for everyday use. On the other hand, because the production developers were also able to provide solutions that you would not necessarily contemplate in the world of motorsport. The best example of this was the heart of the Polo R WRC – the engine.”
Qoute from Jost Capito,
Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“It goes without saying that preparations for the WRC season started well before today. We are as well prepared as possible for the Rally Monte Carlo and have further developed many details on the Polo R WRC. We are now looking forward to facing new challenges in the competition. This season’s World Rally Championship offers many new aspects, which will make the project to defend our titles demanding. We have a new opponent in Hyundai, while Ford and Citroën have new driving line-ups this season. In Poland, a country full of rally enthusiasts returns to the WRC calendar. We are looking forward to pitting our wits against them. Today’s launch sees the anticipation within the team step up another notch. Everyone is looking forward to doing their best. It was thanks to our extraordinary team spirit that we achieved such great things in 2013. Bring on 2014.”
Quote from Sébastien Ogier,
Volkswagen works driver and defending WRC champion in the Drivers’ Championship
“There are only 61 days between the final special stage of last season and the first of the coming Rally Monte Carlo. No other world championship has such a short break. Testing and preparations have been running at full throttle since November, and we are well prepared to start the new season as defending champions. Today’s event was symbolic – starting out from Wolfsburg shows that the entire company is behind us. As far as I, my co-driver Julien Ingrassia and our team are concerned, we are ready for the 2014 World Rally Championship.”