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Volkswagen Motorsport and Sebastian Ogier strike heavily in Sardinia with the Polo R WRC

Volkswagen driver Sebastien Ogier took a dominant victory on Rally Italia Sardinia this weekend and as a result of his 5th victory in the 2013 WRC season stretched his lead in the Drivers' Championship.

The Volkswagen driver was determined more than ever to score victory in Sardinia this week, which was the seventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship, after the disappointment in Greece, when a fuel pressure problem afflicted his performance.

Sebastian Ogier, who had been third quickest in qualifying, seized top spot in the very first test, when he was 5.3 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen. He was then second in SS2 and first in SS3 building an initial 20.5 second buffer, which he proceeded to double on the repeat loop before setting the second and third fastest times on the two night time runs through the 13.55 km Gallura test. He concluded day one with a 46.6 second advantage.

On Saturday – the second and final leg – the Volkswagen ace won four more tests, including the Power Stage, and he eventually brought his Polo R WRC home 1 minute 16.8 seconds up on Thierry Neuville. It was his fifth victory of the season and the result sees him stretch his advantage in the title race from 52 points to 64 going into the WRC's summer break. Sebastian Ogier leads now the 2013 WRC standings with 154 points to Jari-Matti Latvala on 90 points.

“It's been a good rally for us, we just managed it perfectly. We pushed when we could and were careful when it was rough. At the end it was just perfect,” Sebastian Ogier said.

Ford Fiesta driver Thierry Neuville meanwhile took an impressive second for the Qatar World Rally Team, winning two stages on Friday as he hauled himself up from fourth and ahead of both Mads Ostberg and Dani Sordo. It is the Belgian's best result to date in the WRC – and his third podium of 2013, after finishing third in Greece and Mexico.

“We had a spin in the last test and we had to slow down and turn around. But I think our strategy throughout the event was quite good,” said Neuville. “Now I think we can go for some more speed in Finland.”

With this result, the Ford Fiesta driver was able to make up for the blots of Ford drivers Evgeny Novikov und Mads Östberg. With 70 points, his is now third in the 2013 WRC standings.

Jari-Matti Latvala was next up, battling his way back into the top three after a puncture in the very first stage on Friday, which cost the Finn almost 2 minutes and any hope of a second win. Nevertheless he was delighted with his performance overall and in total he won six stages – just one less than team-mate and rally winner,

Ogier: “Speed wise I have taken one more step forward,” said Latvala. “I'm pretty happy with the car. I am looking forward to Finland now and at least I have a good result going there.”

Dani Sordo faded from this group to take fourth for Citroen, although it might have been fifth had VW's Andreas Mikkelsen not broken his suspension while giving chase three stages prior to the end.

On his World Rally Car debut, WRC Academy champion Elfyn Evans took an incredible sixth. The Welshman was standing in for an indisposed Nasser Al-Attiyah, and spent the event battling with Michal Kosciuszko, who was in his first rally with a Ford having split with Motorsport Italia's Mini operation.

Volkswagen's 1-3 result also sees the German car giant extend its lead over Citroen in the Manufacturers', with the two now separated by 46 points. Volkswagen Motorsport now leads with 220 points ahead of the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team on 174 points, with the Qatar World Rally Team third on 89 points.

AE
Olbia - Dubai - Cairo
23.06.2013

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