The hard-fought season-opener saw nine-time world champion (and seven-time Monte Carlo Rally winner) Sébastien Loeb return with Citroën, but ultimately it was the VW team that won – and won big, taking a commanding 1-2-3 finish. Sébastien Ogier (with Julien Ingrassia) finished first, followed by Jari-Matti Latvala (with Miika Anttila) in second and Andreas Mikkelsen (with Ola Floene) in third, all of them in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC that was just updated in time for the start of the season. The rally passed right through the Forest Saint Julien where Ogier was born, and at the end of it all, Mikkelsen walked little more than 50 steps from the Volkswagen garage to his condo at Quai Antoine 1er in Monte Carlo.
It was only the second time VW has locked out the podium since hitting the scene two years ago, following the German team's 1-2-3 finish in Australia last season en route to its second consecutive world championship. This also marked the second year in a row that Ogier and VW have won the Monte, after narrowly losing out to Loeb in '03.
The achievement in Monaco this weekend made VW only the fifth manufacturer to take the top three spots in the Monegasque capital: Renault-Alpine became the first in 1973, followed by Lancia (with the Stratos) in '76 and then again (with the Delta Integrale) in '89, Audi sandwiched between in '84 and Citroën with the "dream team" of Loeb, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz in 2003. (Peugeot achieved the same in 2009, but that was when the Monte Carlo Rally had left the WRC and was run as part of the less prominent and lower-spec Intercontinental Rally Challenge.) Not even Subaru, Mitsubishi, Toyota or Ford - all dominant forces in their time - can claim that feat.
The victory secures the Polo R WRC's place as the most dominant car in the championship, winning over 85 percent of the rallies in which it has been entered since its debut in 2003.
One-two-three! Volkswagen makes history at the Rally Monte Carlo
- Second generation Polo R WRC makes dream debut at the legendary Rally Monte Carlo
- Ogier/Ingrassia win, ahead of Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Fløene
- Volkswagen the fifth manufacturer ever to claim a one-two-three at the most iconic rally
Wolfsburg (24 January 2015). Volkswagen started the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship
(WRC) with a historic success. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka
Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N) claimed a one-two-three for the
Polo R WRC at the most iconic rally in the world. This makes Volkswagen only the fifth
manufacturer ever to have achieved this feat at the "Monte".
"A one-two-three at the Rally Monte Carlo is a fantastic performance from the entire
Volkswagen team, and I am very proud of our crew," said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer,
Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. "To start the season in this manner
with a new car, and in such difficult conditions, far exceeds our expectations. The entire troop
worked in perfect harmony. Everyone was there for each other, everyone knew exactly what
he or she had to do, and Volkswagen ultimately deserved to win. This team is now deservedly
up there with the other big rally manufacturers."
Dream debut for the second generation Polo R WRC
The 2015 Rally Monte Carlo marked the first competitive outing for the new Polo R WRC, and
promptly became a success story. Ogier/Ingrassia and Latvala/Anttila were in the cockpit of
the second generation of the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg at the "Monte", while
Mikkelsen/Fløene will remain in the successful predecessor to the new car until the Rally
Portugal. The four-wheel drive powerhouse, which now generates an impressive 318 hp,
made a perfect debut: the new Polo R WRC finished first and second to outdo even the first
outing of the 2013 and 2014 Polo for the World Rally Championship.
Historic: Volkswagen joins elite group of rally legends
The one-two-three at the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo was Volkswagen's 23rd victory with the
Polo R WRC and the eleventh time the manufacturer has had more than one car on the
podium since it joined the series in 2013. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia climbed onto
the top step of the podium for the 25th time at the Rally Monte Carlo, and for the second year
in a row at the "Monte". This sees Ogier pull level with rally legend Colin McRae in the alltime
list of WRC wins. First, second and third at the 2015 "Monte" was also a historic onetwo-
three at the iconic rally – and only the sixth ever. Volkswagen became only the fifth
manufacturer since 1973 to record a "triple" in the "Monte" history books, and thus joins the
ranks of such legendary rally manufacturers as Renault-Alpine, Lancia, Audi and Citroën.
Typical "Monte" – Tyre gambles and diverse conditions
Dry asphalt with – by "Monte" standards – plenty of grip, black ice, snow and slush: the
teams at the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo were faced with all of the above. And the conditions
changed constantly from one kilometre to the next, making tyre selection particularly tricky.
Each crew had to select 30 Michelin competition tyres from the 82 at their disposal – eight
hard, 16 soft, 24 soft, ten winter tyres and 24 studded tyres.
Seb vs Seb – a thrilling duel, but over far too soon
For the first two days of the Rally Monte Carlo, fans were kept on the edge of their seats by
the duel raging between the two Sebs. Sébastien Ogier in the Polo R WRC and Sébastien Loeb
in a Citroën were embroiled in a thrilling battle for the lead. Ogier had moved into an eightsecond
lead at the halfway point of the rally when Loeb, making his WRC comeback, lost a
huge amount of time and dropped well down the overall standings. And so the prestigious
duel was curtailed, just as it was getting really interesting. No longer was the nine-time world
champion the number one threat to Sébastien Ogier, but his team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala
and Andreas Mikkelsen.
Personal bests – Latvala and Mikkelsen make dream starts to the new WRC season
Second place for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and third for Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene
were their best results to date at the Rally Monte Carlo. As such, they were also an
improvement on last year. Twelve months ago, Latvala/Anttila came home fifth and
Mikkelsen, with his co-driver at the time Mikko Markkula (FIN), seventh to finish the "Monte"
for the first time. Latvala/Anttila moved into second place on the seventh special stage, and
held onto the runner-up spot right through to the end of a rally held in typically difficult
"Monte" conditions. Mikkelsen/Fløene also climbed into third place on the very same stage.
500 special stages – an exceptional record
The closing Power Stage at the Rally Monte Carlo formed the 500th special stage for the
Volkswagen Polo R WRC in the World Rally Championship since its debut at the 2013
"Monte". Since then, the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg has established itself as the car with
the highest win ratio ever in the World Rally Championship. Not only have 85.2 per cent of all
possible victories gone to Wolfsburg, but Volkswagen has also won 347 of its 500 special
The icing on the cake: Power Stage yields bonus point for Jari-Matti Latvala
Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila enjoyed an almost perfect end to the Rally Monte Carlo.
They clocked the third fastest time on the closing Power Stage. With bonus points on offer to
the fastest three cars, the Finnish duo picked up another valuable point towards the World
Quotes after day four of the Rally Monte Carlo
Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
"What a fantastic start to the new season! I'm over the moon. Getting a win at the Rally
Monte Carlo is special for any driver, but words can't describe what a win here means to me –
this is my home. Friends, family and fans give me so much support and self-confidence here.
The atmosphere was magical. I'm grateful that I can give something back with my joy. This
83rd staging of the 'Monte' is one of the most difficult rallies I can remember, as far as the
conditions are concerned. Selecting the tyres was particularly difficult at the start. Then there
was the exciting battle with Sébastien Loeb, who was producing spectacular times on
Thursday. Big thanks go to our team and my ice spies. It goes without saying that I am also
delighted with the great overall result for Volkswagen; as long as I'm at the top, Jari-Matti
and Andreas are my favourite people to share the podium with."
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
"We couldn't have wished for a better start. Our aim right from the word go was to finish in
the top four, and we did better than that. I'm delighted. It's a weight off my mind since my
previous starts at the Rally Monte Carlo hadn't exactly been successful. The conditions
weren't easy and you had to compromise on speed to avoid making mistakes. After we had
built up a good lead early on, it was all about getting the overall result, and no longer about
setting the fastest times. The one-two-three is the best reward for the whole team, who put
so much effort and passion into developing the new Polo."
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
"That was obviously an outstanding start to the new season for the whole team. You don't
celebrate a one-two-three at the 'Monte' every day. I'm proud to have played a part. But I'm
also delighted that my own season has started so well. Before we set off I would have taken
any spot in the top five. Third place exceeds all my expectations. We'll celebrate this podium
result properly, that much is certain. The conditions at this 'Monte' were extremely difficult
and it was the first time that I have started here when there has been snow, ice and slippery
asphalt. Right from the start my focus was on finishing safely – and it paid off. I learned so
much and ended up with a lot. Quite simply, it was a dream start."
Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
"What a fantastic result for Volkswagen, but particularly for our drivers. No rally is more
demanding than the 'Monte'. The human factor makes much more of a difference here than
at any of the other rallies. I'm particularly proud of Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and
Andreas Mikkelsen for giving Volkswagen the perfect start to the season by finishing first,
second and third. There was no shortage of rivals, or difficult conditions that needed a cool
head. I'm just as proud of the whole team, who worked together perfectly to send the Polo R
WRC back onto the special stages in perfect condition every day, as I am of the drivers and
And then there was ...
... the second 'local' driver at the "Monte". By the time the service park had moved from Gap
(France) to Monaco, Andreas Mikkelsen became the driver with the shortest journey home.
The Volkswagen service area is located right on the dock at Quai Antoine 1er in the
principality – exactly the same address as that of Andreas Mikkelsen, who found himself no
more than fifty steps away from his flat during the service. However, Mikkelsen stayed in a
hotel with the rest of the team during the rally, leaving his flat free for friends and family.
Sébastien Ogier also enjoyed a trip home on day two of the rally, as the "Monte" took him
through his birthplace of Forest Saint Julien and within shouting distance of his parents'