Three weeks after Sebastien Ogier won the drivers’ title in France, Volkswagen secured the manufacturers’ championship at Rally de Espana, when a one-two victory for Polo R drivers Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala gave them an unbeatable lead in the standings ahead of the final round in Wales.
Team principal Jost Capito said the performance had way exceeded his original goal of podium finishes in year one. However he admitted that after watching Ogier’s world title delayed at Rally Australia by a last stage re-shuffle in the top ten, Latvala’s fuel system fire and diff problems on the penultimate stage in Spain gave him some anxious moments.
“We had a reasonable chance here, but we knew it went wrong in Australia and it could go wrong here,” he said. “It was nearly the same in the last two stages here – it was upside down. Just when we think we won, we went to the phone with trouble with Jari-Matti’s car….”
“But now it’s a great feeling to win the two championships with a new car and a new team. Both titles in one season is simply unbelievable. Winning the drivers’ and co-drivers’ world championship was an absolute highlight for the whole team. It was a dream come true for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in particular at their home event three weeks ago. But the manufacturers’ world championship is even more important for a car maker because it proves that it’s not just the driver who’s exceptional – the product is too,” he added.
No other manufacturer has managed to win a World Championship in its first year since the World Rally Championship began. And three titles is Volkswagen’s greatest motorsport achievement to date.
Yves Matton, the head of outgoing champions Citroën Racing, was quick to offer his congratulations. “They have had a great season and deserved to win the title,” he said.