Volkswagen motorsport director Jost Capito has expressed his disappointment following Rallye Deutschland, where 'a few little mistakes' cost the team the chance of winning on home soil.
Since joining the WRC this season, VW has managed to finish on the podium in every single event – including taking six wins.
The ninth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship, however, ended that run, and while Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala combined to win eight of the 15 stages, neither finished in the top six - let alone the top three.
Ogier saw his bid for victory – and his outside hopes of clinching the 2013 WRC Drivers' title – disappear on Friday
morning, when he went off and damaged the suspension on his Polo R WRC. He had been leading by 5.7 seconds, having won the first two stages. Latvala then took over the mantle and had built up a 14.8 second cushion, when he hit problems on the repeat loop on Saturday
and retired from the leg in SS12.
Latvala eventually finished seventh under Rally 2, with Ogier, who also re-started, 17th, although the Frenchman still claimed the final manufacturer's point and won the Power Stage, to take three bonus points for the Drivers' championship. Neverthless though, with Citroen finishing 1-3, VW saw its lead in the Manufacturers' more than halved, reduced from 55 points to 26.
“To win eight of the fifteen stages is a good sign and matches the amount we have been achieving prior to the Rally Germany. The Polo R WRC is also competitive on asphalt. However, our home race did not go as we had imagined or hoped it would. And that's disappointing for us,” Capito stated. “Both Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala led the rally at some stage, but both were forced to retire in this position. We were close to victory, but missed out due to a few little mistakes.”
“In sport, you can't plan success, though, and you can't take anything for granted,” Capito continued. “This is especially the case in the WRC, where it's about every little detail and no mistakes can be made. And it is exactly this which makes our sport so fascinating. We will now work hard to be successful at the Rally Australia. We [also] send our congratulations to Dani Sordo for his deserved maiden victory in the WRC, which was long overdue.”
Ogier and Latvala meanwhile were also quick to congratulate Sordo, while reiterating their regret over how Rallye Deutschland turned out for them personally: “I'm sorry for the team that we were not able to win our home rally,” said Ogier. “This is not how we hoped the weekend would pan out.
"But we were still able to make the best of it [after we re-started on day three]. The win in the Power Stage at the end was a nice success and may still prove to be important in the shake-up for the World Championship [too]. I'm really happy for Dani Sordo [too], because he has had a tough season so far and a first World Championship win is always something special. I'm now looking forward to Australia and Julien [Ingrassia - my co-driver] and I will be trying to edge ever closer to that World Championship title.”
“Let's start with the positive,” Latvala continued. “I have improved on my performances on asphalt from the past. I had never led an asphalt-based rally before and the times show that I am getting better on this surface. Of course, there is still room for improvement, but I'm happy that I was able to pick up some more points for the team in the Constructors' championship after yesterday's disappointment, even though the result was anything but perfect for me personally.
“Nevertheless, I'll be going into the upcoming rallies with confidence and will do everything I can to give my team the best chance in the fight for the Constructors' Championship. I'm happy for Dani Sordo as well, who is celebrating his first ever World Championship rally win here in Germany. I know how Dani must be feeling right now. He deserved the victory,” Latvala concluded.