06 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Allez! Latvala and Anttila
claim historic victory at Rally France

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally France: Latvala/Anttila

It was celebration time again for Volkswagen Motorsport at Rally France (3-5 October), as Finnish duo Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila claimed victory after a tough fight with Norwegian and Finnish team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene.

The Nordic pair finished second. Latvala and Anttila are the first Finns to win an all-asphalt event for just under 15 years. The victory narrows their drivers’ championship challenge to leaders Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.

It wasn’t quite so clean cut for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. The Frenchmen suffered a faulty gear-shift sensor on their Polo R WRC and submitted a time card incorrectly, resulting in a 13th place finish on their home event. It wasn’t not all bad news, though, as they won the Power Stage, picking up three bonus points for the Volkswagen Motorsport team.

Latvala and Antilla were dominant throughout Rally France, taking the lead from the opening stage. They dropped it only once, handing it to Mikkelsen and Fløene. They won nine of the 18 special stages, finishing in the top three on six of the remaining nine stages.

In total Volkswagen won 17 of the 18 special stages with the Polo R WRC, the German outfit’s duos occupying a total of 42 top-three positions over the course of the rally.

Latvala was ecstatic with his win: ‘A great and important win for us. For years I have worked hard to win my first asphalt rally. Unfortunately I missed out on the chance in Germany, but I have now shown that I learned from my mistake and went away and improved.

‘With this win I would like to thank Volkswagen and the entire team for the magnificent support. I am overjoyed to have finally achieved this milestone.’

With Mikkelsen and Fløene’s runner-up position, Volkswagen scored its seventh one-two of the season. The French podium was the Nordic pair’s fifth podium of 2014, and sees them climb to third place in the drivers’ championship.

They really put the pressure on Latavala and Anttila, but also allowed for space between them and leading Citroën drivers Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, who rounded out the podium.

‘An absolutely outstanding Rally France for us! We have improved greatly on asphalt since the Rally Germany. We feel more at home than ever on this surface in the Polo. We prepared perfectly during the tests and developed a really good set-up.

‘Friday was superb, as was Saturday – but we were unable to match the pace of my team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala. After that we focussed on securing second place. It feels absolutely awesome to have achieved that on asphalt,’ said a pleased Mikkelsen.

Rally France was a rare gap in Ogier’s winning scorecard. A gear-shift sensor dashed any hopes of a home victory and securing the drivers’ championship with two rallies still to come.

Ogier and Ingrassia lost over eight minutes at the very start of the event, fighting back from 30th place to finish 13th. A timecard error saw the Frenchmen check in four minutes too early, incurring a additional penalty.

A reflective Ogier commented: ‘We got as much as possible out of this weekend with victory on the Power Stage. All in all, the Rally France did not really go well for us, but Julien and I still lead the World Championship by 27 points.

‘Congratulations to Jari-Matti on an impressive display. I would like to thank the French fans for their fantastic support. That meant an awful lot to me and Julien.’

Victory for Latvala/Anttila was Volkswagen’s 20th in the World Rally Championship with the Polo R WRC from 24 outings. The manufacturer now has 38 podium finishes to its name since first lining up at the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2013.

The drivers’ championship title race now moves to Spain and if Ogier and Ingrassia score one point more than Latvala/Anttila in Spain, the crown will be theirs.

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito once again praised his team. ‘Today is a very special day for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. With this historic performance, they have kept the title race alive.

‘It is a very comfortable situation to know that it can only be a Volkswagen driver who is eventually crowned world champion. Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene also crowned an outstanding performance with second place today.

‘Having been hugely unlucky on Friday, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia won the Power Stage to make the best of an unfortunate situation. They can still successfully defend their World Championship title without having to depend on others’ results.’



1 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen: 2h 38m 19.1s

2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), Volkswagen: + 44.8s

3 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (GB/IRL), Citroën: + 1m 05.3s
4 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (E/E), Hyundai: + 1m 48.7s

5 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Ford: + 2m 00.7s



1 Sébastien Ogier, 217

2 Jari-Matti Latvala, 190

3 Andreas Mikkelsen, 143

4 Mikko Hirvonen, 93

5 Thierry Neuville, 83



1 Volkswagen Motorsport, 373

2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, 175

3 M-Sport, 164

4 Hyundai Motorsport, 157

5 Volkswagen Motorsport II, 127

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. More information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.