First outing in the FIA World Rally Championship, first stage, first milestone: Volkswagen made an impressive start to the legendary Rally Monte Carlo with the Polo R WRC. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) won the opening special stage of the iconic classic in extremely difficult conditions – finishing ahead of multiple world champions Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroen).
All the top teams adopted identical tyre strategies on the opening “Le Moulinon” stage, as they looked to overcome the challenge thrown up by parts of the stage being run on grippy tarmac and other sections on smooth ice. After the first leg of the four-day “Monte” challenge, Ogier/Ingrassia are currently 1:20.30 minutes behind world champion Loeb in second place, following further excellent stage results. Their team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) follow in fifth place overall after their progress was halted by a puncture onthe final stage of the day.
However, the good results at the Rally Monte Carlo cannot really be seen as a true indication of how the Polo R WRC will fair over the course of the season. The conditions – a mixture of ice, snow and tarmac – are unlike any others on likely to be experienced over the remainder of the WRC calendar.