28 May 2013
VW 'pleasantly surprised' by results so far
Francois-Xavier Demaison: No one in the team expected us to bag three wins and podium finishes at each rally
Volkswagen has exceeded its own expectations so far this season, technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison has said ahead of the Acropolis Rally of Greece.
Volkswagen's Polo R WRC car only made its debut in Monte Carlo back in January, however, since then the German manufacturer has established itself as the force to beat.
Indeed VW leads the way in the way in the Manufacturers' Championship, 14 points up on Citroen, while VW number one driver Sebastien Ogier also heads the Drivers' Championship, after notching up three wins and two second places.
“It would be fair to say that we're pleasantly surprised by how things have gone so far this season,” 'FX' said ahead of the sixth round in the WRC this week.
“No one in the team expected us to bag three wins and podium finishes at each rally. We've faced a few minor problems, of course, but luckily none of them have led to bad results. On the contrary – so far, we have finished well every time. There is no doubt that's partly thanks to our good preparation.
“Last year, we conducted tests in practically all conceivable conditions. All of our engineers and mechanics already have two years of hard work behind them, so I'm pretty proud of what we've achieved so far.
“But there's no doubt that we're learning all the time; it's a constant process. We are bound to face new problems that we have no idea about yet. That's part of motorsport. We're still serving our apprenticeship this season, and what we learn will help us to be even better prepared for 2014.”
Meanwhile, Andreas Mikkelsen will take in his third event with the Polo R WRC in Greece and after finishing sixth in Portugal and eighth in Argentina he now wants to reduce the time margin to his team-mates.
“Now that I've completed my first two rallies in the Polo R WRC, I can hardly wait for the Rally Greece to start. The latest test drives went really well too. I notched up about 160 kilometres, working on both my driving style and the tuning, which further increased my confidence in the Polo R WRC,” said the two-time Intercontinental Rally Challenge title winner.
“After my test, I spent another two days with the team in Greece, watching Sebastien and Jari-Matti [Latvala] doing their testing work. It was interesting to see where they brake, how they position the car on the bends and how they tackle the crests. All of that taught me a lot more about driving a WRC car. In Portugal, I was about one second per kilometre behind – in Argentina I was just five tenths of a second off first place. My aim is to further reduce this margin this weekend.”
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