Home / Home / VW’s Mikkelsen wins Spain WRC round

 

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Ola Fløene (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC (2015) WRC Rally Spain 2015

Volkswagen continued their domination of the World Rally Championship, but it wasn’t Ogier or Latvala who stood tallest at the podium. It was young Andreas Mikkelsen along with co-driver Ola Fløen who came out on top in the RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada. The Norwegian ace battled hard against second placed fellow Volkswagen teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, and saw another member of the Volkswagen team, and current champion Sebastian Ogier (with Julien Ingrassia) retire from the race.

Ogier and Latvala were embroiled in their customary tussle until halfway through the rally, but Latvala suffered a flat and let Ogier get away with it, falling close to a minute behind his teammate. Ogier’s victory looked to be sealed, that is until the very final stage where he hit a crash barrier, causing irreparable damage and forcing him to retire, tantalisingly close to the finish line.

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Ola Fløene (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC (2015) WRC Rally Spain 2015

Post-race, Ogier explained the crash, “I was too fast in a long left-hander and went a little too wide on the exit. We made contact with the crash barrier, which knocked us slightly off line and the wheel caught on a post holding the crash barriers. That ripped the wheel off – and it was all over. We went to hospital for a thorough check – just to be certain. Happily everything is ok. Unfortunately this mistake cost us the win. However, I am very pleased for Andreas and Ola, who fully deserve their first win in the World Rally Championship.”

This meant one of Mikkelsen or Latvala had their shot at glory, and that scrap went down to the wire. 3.1 seconds is all that separated Mikkelsen and Latvala, as Mikkelsen took home his first ever WRC victory at the power stage. The victory could have gone either way too, as another puncture to Latvala allowed Mikkelsen to gain precious seconds in the 20th stage, but Latvala was allowed a comeback as Mikkelsen spun out in the very next stage. He didn’t lose enough momentum to allow the super Fin to retake top billing though, and it was Mikkelsen first past the chequered flag and notching his maiden victory.

Ola Fløene (N), Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Richard Browne WRC Rally Spain 2015

Mikkelsen was understandably ecstatic after the race, saying, “We have waited so long and worked so hard for this moment. When it finally arrived, we could hardly believe it: we have won our first World Championship rally! Today was exactly the opposite of what happened to us in Sweden. I am overjoyed, but don’t think it has fully sunk in yet. I am sure that will take a few days. We gave it our all on the Power Stage, and finally came up with the perfect stage at this rally. That would certainly have been enough for second place, but the victory is obviously the icing on the cake. It is a shame for Seb and Julien, but the most important thing is that they were not hurt in the crash. It has been an incredible weekend for us, which we will certainly celebrate in style today – with my family, my mechanics, and the entire team.”

On the day, third place went to hometown hero Dani Sordo and his Hyundai i20, coming in a massive 18.1 seconds behind the second VW. This victory also cemented the 1-2-3 for team Volkswagen in both the drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships for a second consecutive year, quite the feat, especially with one more round of the rally to go. The next and final round of the 2015 WRC will take place in Wales on the 12th of November.

Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), Ola Fløene (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC (2015) WRC Rally Spain 2015

 

About the author: Harket Suchde

 

Features writer at Car India, rock-n-roll lover, and ardent video-gamer.

You can hit me up on Twitter @hsuchde - I promise I'll respond...eventually.

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