In front of a home crowd, Volkswagen took its worst result since joining the World Rally Championship in January.
Works drivers Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala both led the rally at different times, but Ogier retired from day two after going off and breaking his Polo’s suspension, while Latvala bowed out of Saturday’s leg in similar circumstances.
The team’s third driver, Andreas Mikkelsen, withdrew before the start when his co-driver Mikko Markkula was diagnosed with a serious back injury.
Latvala and Ogier both rejoined as Rally2 competitors, and between them bagged eight stage wins, and four power stage points on the way to finishing seventh and 17th respectively - the first time the team has missed out on a podium place this season.
“To win eight of the fifteen stages is a good sign and matches the amount we have been achieving prior to the Rally Germany. The Polo R WRC is also competitive on asphalt. However, our home race did not go as we had imagined or hoped it would. And that’s disappointing for us,’ said team principal Jost Capito.
“Both Sébastien and Jari-Matti led the rally at some stage, but both were forced to retire in this position. We were close to victory, but missed out due to a few little mistakes. In sport, you can’t plan success, though, and you can’t take anything for granted. This is especially the case in the WRC, where it’s about every little detail and no mistakes can be made. And it is exactly this which makes our sport so fascinating. We will now work hard to be successful at the Rally Australia.”