17 June 2013
Rally d'Italia Sardegna: Motivated VW looks for momentum
Winning may not be the sole aim for round seven of the WRC, but Volkswagen is determined to ride the wave of success it has enjoyed on its return to world scene.
It may be leading both sets of WRC standings in its first season back at the peak of international rallying, but Volkswagen will have no problem retaining its focus ahead of this weekend's Rally d'Italia Sardegna.
That is the view of VW motorsport director Jost Capito, who has guided the pairing of Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala to first and second respectively in the drivers' standings, and the factory team to top spot in the manufacturers' table, after six of the season's 13 scheduled rounds.
While Ogier set the early-season pace, interrupted only by the sporadic – and successful – appearances of namesake Sebastian Loeb, VW team-mate Latvala got in on the act last time out, taking the win in Greece to add to Ogier's hat-trick in Sweden, Mexico and Portugal.
“The Rally Greece showed once and for all that we not only have two drivers capable of winning, but also have a future winner in our ranks, in the form of Andreas Mikkelsen,” Capito reflected, including VW's Norwegian protégé in his round-up following his fourth-place finish on the Acropolis event, “All three have produced outstanding performances recently, and we want to take this momentum into Sardinia.”
Winning over half of the season's events so far has neither made VW complacent or diluted its focus, particularly with the bigger prize of championship success still to be achieved.
“Volkswagen is leading every classification in the overall WRC standings, and two of our drivers currently occupy the top two places in the drivers' championship - that is enough motivation for our drivers, engineers and mechanics to do their very best again in Sardinia,” Capito continued, “We are looking forward to competing on a par with our opponents again, and to some exciting battles for wins, positions and points.”
Winning in Italy, however, will not be the over-riding focus, with Capito keen to minimise the risks as he attempts to land a championship double in his first year with VW in the WRC.
“We should be able to challenge for victory again, but not at all costs,” he stressed, “It is vital to come away with as many points as possible, and to tighten our grip on the top spots in the overall standings.
“The key is to find the right balance between the desire to attack and a cautious pace to suit the situation in hand. Our three teams have achieved this very well so far.”
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