Volkswagen driver Sebastien Ogier
has said a damp spot was to blame for his off on Friday, which ended his bid to win Rallye Deutschland.
Ogier, who won both stages on Thursday, was pushing to extend his lead when he skidded off the road in Mittelmosel 1, the first test on day two, and damaged the front suspension on his Polo R WRC.
The Frenchman lost over 2 minutes as a result and while he completed SS3 and then started the following stage his emergency repairs did not last.
“After getting off to such a good start on Thursday, the retirement early on day two is obviously disappointing,” said Ogier, who had had an outside chance of securing the 2013 WRC drivers' title this weekend.
“Unfortunately [in SS3] I hit a damp spot on the tarmac as I braked, meaning I was too quick coming into the corner and ploughed into the bank at quite a speed," he explained. "This damaged the suspension at the front left so severely that Julien [Ingrassia – my co-driver] and I lost more than two minutes. We tried to complete the next special stage, but had to give up for safety reasons. The car was undriveable.”
“I feel bad for the team, as I would really have liked to give Volkswagen a win at their home event,” he added.
Ogier will now re-start on Saturday under the Rally 2 regulations, albeit from 47th position, more than 20 minutes off a place inside the top ten. As such his focus is firmly on the event ending Power Stage and those bonus points.
“Winning Sunday's Power Stage is now the priority, as I really want to pick up the three World Championship points,” he confirmed.
“It is also important for us to take leave here with some important reference values on asphalt, which we can use at the Rally France in six weeks [time].”
Volkswagen motorsport director, Jost Capito meanwhile had mixed emotions at the close of day two, and while Ogier's exit was a blow, he was pleased to see Jari-Matti Latvala
take up the mantle in the sister car. Latvala ended Friday with a 7.3 second lead.
“Friday was a day of different emotions for Volkswagen,” Capito stated. “Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia suffered the disappointment of skidding off the track whilst leading today. However, we were able to depend upon Jari-Matti Latvala
and Miikka Anttila. They took over the lead and then defended it in a thrilling duel with Thierry Neuville.
"All in all, we are happy with the result, although we would obviously have hoped for more from Sebastien. He will resume under Rally 2 regulations tomorrow, and will be out to score as many points as possible towards the Manufacturers' Championship.”