Having thrown away its chance of victory on two previous attempts at ADAC Rallye Deutschland [20-23 August], Volkswagen is hoping a win this week will finally give its home crowd something to cheer about.
Compared to its dominance of the past two WRC seasons, Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen’s performances at home have been something of an embarrassment. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala have each led the rally, but crashes meant neither was able to hold the position to the end. It remains the only round that the Polo R World Rally Car is yet to win.
Team principal Jost Capito acknowledged that it's a gap in the team's winning record he's anxious to fill. "Okay, the bigger goal is always to win the championship but of course for the team it's important to win here. They want to win their home rally - and being a German I want to win Rally Germany, that's for sure," he told wrc.com.
“There is no other WRC event at which our desire to win is so great and so unfulfilled. We could have got the win under our own steam in 2013 and 2014, but retired with Sébastien and Jari-Matti in the lead respectively. But even though luck hasn't exactly been on our side at home, there is no reason why we shouldn't be fighting for first place again in 2015."
Capito is not a superstitious man and doesn't believe in changing his strategy ahead of this week's event in Trier.
"Our previous results here were just down to bad luck - twice - and nothing more," he explained. "Jari-Matti had a minute lead last year before he went off so I don't plan on changing anything. I don't need to give the drivers any direct instructions either. Last year at our season end party they promised Professor Winterkorn [Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen AG] that they will win this rally - so I don't need to do anything more!"
Ogier won the rally with Citroën in 2011 and is well motivated to deliver Volkswagen its dream result. And with an 89-point lead in the drivers' championship, he has a chance of securing a third FIA title this weekend too.
"What's in the past is in the past," Ogier said. "This year I feel relaxed. Maybe the situation in the championship helps but I feel I have extra motivation to crack the code this time. I've found in the past, I know I can do it again."