Following the successful premiere in Monte Carlo, Volkswagen Motorsport is now focusing on the season’s second race of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) 2012 – Rally Sweden, 9-12 February. For Volkswagen Motorsport is the start of Rally Sweden to continue to gather important experience for 2013 when it will compete with the newly developed rally car Polo R WRC.
– Rally in Sweden is special, it’s the only race on snow and ice and provides the best chance to gain valuable experience in the real cold. It’s an important race for us in preparation for our WRC participation in 2013, says Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.
Just as in the Monte Carlo Rally sets Volkswagen Motorsport up in SWRC class with two Fabia S2000 from Group brand Skoda. In the season opener in Monte Carlo was the junior Kevin Abbring (Holland) and his co-driver Lara Vanneste (Belgium), best-S2000 car with a twelfth place overall, while the star driver Sebastien Ogier broke the race after a spectacular off the road. When leaving the runway were Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia, both from France, on an overall fourth place. Ogier is aiming for revenge in Sweden:
– I really like Rally Sweden. Because of its uniqueness, it is important to reach the goal to give the team an opportunity to thoroughly learn about this rally, says Sébastien Ogier.
– In Sweden, the Nordic drivers are always very strong because they have more experience of the conditions that prevail there. But we are well prepared, continues Ogier who in 2011 took fourth place in Rally Sweden – behind three Scandinavian drivers.
Ogier and Ingrassia have in Rally Sweden joined by the talented Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen and his experienced co-driver Ola Fløene. The duo will compete for the Volkswagen factory team for the first time this season.
– The Swedish race is almost a home race for me because some routes running in Norway. I hope that many fans will support me. Thanks to my victory in the snow at the season premiere of the Norwegian championship, I am completely ready. Running on the same team as “Seb” adds an extra spark, as he currently is one of the fastest, if not the fastest rally driver of all. I look forward to it and I hope to learn a lot from him, says 22-year-old Andreas Mikkelsen, who is the reigning champion in the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge).
Volkswagen partner of Rally Sweden and Swedish Rally AB
Late last year it was clear that Volkswagen is the Official Car and the new, big partner for the World Championship, Rally Sweden AB and the Swedish Rally. The agreement with the Swedish Rally AB is three years, applies beginning in World Championship Rally 2012th
Being the Official Car means that Volkswagen provides the Swedish Rally Ltd with over 40 vehicles of various kinds. The cars will be used as 0-000 cars, as safety cars, in television production, in media work, and in a number of other contexts before, during and after the rally. During the Rally Sweden, Volkswagen will also be organizing various events for customers and partners.
24 routes and 349 km
Snowy and icy conditions expect when Rally Sweden begins on Thursday. Start and finish take place in Karlstad and the service center is situated in Hagfors. The rally consists of 24 special stages and is 349 kilometers long. This year, several routes also run on Norwegian soil in the area around Kongsvinger.