Crazy! World champions again*! With a 1-2-3 victory at the Rally Australia, Volkswagen celebrated winning the manufacturers' standings in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

The icing on the cake is that either Volkswagen driver Sébastien Ogier (F) or his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) will win the drivers' world championship. In the co-drivers' standings, the title will be won by a Volkswagen co-driver, either Julien Ingrassia (F) or Miikka Anttila (FIN). Sporting, technical, human – 34 interesting facts about Volkswagen's title victories.


Fact 01 +++ The manufacturers' title, as well as the prospect that the drivers' and co-drivers' titles can only be won by Volkswagen drivers hand Volkswagen Motorsport their fourth, fifth and sixth FIA world championship titles* in motorsport. Volkswagen previously celebrated winning the FIA World Cup for marathon rallying in the Touareg 2 race – Bruno Saby/Michel Périn won in 2005, Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn in 2007. +++

Fact 02 +++ The early world championship victory marks the fastest title victory in the manufacturers' standings since the current points system was introduced in 2010 – after 76.9 percent of the season. Not taking the different points system into account, only one manufacturer has won the brand title more quickly in the entire history of the WRC: This was in 1989, when Lancia beat rivals Toyota after just six of ten races. This means that Volkswagen have achieved the earliest victory in 25 years. +++

Fact 03 +++ The biggest advantage that a Volkswagen duo has had in 23 WRC rallies was back in March 2013. In only the third rally that the Polo R WRC had competed in, Ogier/Ingrassia finished with a gap of 3.28.9 minutes between them and their pursuer Mikko Hirvonen (Citroën). The narrowest gap between first and second place over the past two world championship years was at the 2014 Rally Finland, when only 3.6 seconds separated the Volkswagen duos Latvala/Anttila and Ogier/Ingrassia. +++

Fact 04 +++ Up to and including the tenth rally of the 2014 season, the Rally Australia, Volkswagen has competed in 23 WRC events with the Polo R WRC. The team has won 19 of these rallies – which is a winning percentage of 82.6 percent. A Volkswagen duo has finished on the podium 36 times in the 23 WRC rallies. Since entering the Polo R WRC in January 2013, Volkswagen has competed on a total of 428 special stages, and won 297 of them. In the 1208 times that a Polo R WRC has started a special stage, the Volkswagen duos have achieved 679 top 3 times – which goes to show just how evenly balanced the three Volkswagen drivers Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen are. Volkswagen have had their drivers come first, second and third on a special stage 40 times. +++

Fact 05 +++ Since 2013, Volkswagen has won with the Polo R WRC in all 14 countries that have hosted a rally - except at the home rally in Germany: in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Argentina, Greece, Italy, Poland, Finland, Australia, France, Spain and Great Britain. +++

Fact 06 +++ The power stage, where bonus points are awarded for the drivers' and co-drivers' championships, is real Volkswagen territory. On 22 power stages, a Volkswagen duo has been victorious 16 times. A total of 39 bonus points have gone to Wolfsburg. In 2014, they have won eight out of ten possible power stages. On top of this, Volkswagen has managed to secure all of the power stage points for Wolfsburg two times in 2014: All three Volkswagen duos were at the top at the Rally Italy and at the Rally Poland. +++

Fact 07 +++ Halfway round the globe – at rally speed: To date the Volkswagen duos have covered 21,615.97 kilometres on 428 special stages since January 2013. The shortest special stage in the history of the Polo R WRC so far was at the 2014 Rally Mexico – the special stage “Street Stage Guanajuato” at 1.01 kilometres. The longest special stage that a Volkswagen duo has taken on since 2013 was also in 2014 – the special stage “Monte Lerno” at the Rally Italy. The lowest temperature that the Polo R WRC has started in since 2013 was minus 12 degrees at the 2013 Rally Sweden. The World Rally Car from Wolfsburg competed in the warmest conditions at the 2014 Rally Italy – at 34 degrees in the shade, which was scarce. +++


VW-technicalFact 08 +++ The Autostadt museum in Wolfsburg will soon receive a special Polo R WRC – the one with internal number 11 and the chassis number WVWZZZ6RZCWP00029. Ogier/Ingrassia celebrated the first ever Volkswagen victory in the WRC with it in Sweden. This chassis was used six times in 2013. After Sweden came another four victories – in Portugal, Finland, Australia and Spain. No other WRC chassis from Wolfsburg has a better success rate. Another special chassis is still in use at rallies: The internal number 17. This Polo R WRC has started at six rallies – and one very special one. At the 2013 Rally France it drove Ogier/Ingrassia to victory and the world championship title. If you look closely at the body in the right light, you can just about make out the small dents on the roof caused by the two Frenchmen dancing on it while celebrating winning the world championship. Their next opportunity for this is at the 2014 Rally France. +++

Fact 09 +++ Zero – that's the number of times that Volkswagen has suffered engine failure with the Polo R WRC in the World Rally Championship to date. Technical defects are also rare for the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg: In 2013, Ogier/Ingrassia had to retire their Polo R WRC early at the Rally Italy – only to return under Rally 2 regulations and pick up points. In 2014, Mikkelsen/Markkula missed a few kilometres at the Rally Argentina when their fan belt slipped. This also had a happy end – the duo ended up in fourth place. +++

Fact 10 +++ A key to success is the Volkswagen service. The mechanics usually have 15, 30 and 45 minutes each rally day to service the vehicles. The quickest procedure: It takes less than a minute to change a tyre. Another very quick task: changing the gearbox in under twelve minutes. The Volkswagen mechanics need seven minutes to change a wheel bearing. They first need to take the wheel off, dismantle the brakes and then reassemble everything. +++

Fact 11 +++ It takes about 350 hours to build a completely new Polo R WRC, from the unpainted basic body without a roof to the World Rally Car that is ready to race. +++

Fact 12 +++ An engine lasts for an average of five rallies, which is about 2500 kilometres of special stages at rally speed, plus around 10,000 kilometres of liaison stages in normal traffic. The engine is sealed during this time and monitored by the FIA. After this period, it's time for the inspection. The engine is dismantled into 300 individual parts. The quality assurance checks each part and each screw down to a thousandth of a millimetre (1 μm). In comparison: That's 500 times smaller than a grain of salt or 150 times finer than a human hair. +++

Fact 13 +++ The disk brakes in a Polo R WRC can withstand temperatures of up to 900 degrees Celsius. Ventilated disk brakes made of steel are used in the WRC. The company Alcon from England builds the high-performance brakes with a diameter (at the front) of 355 millimetres. +++

Fact 14 +++ The maximum brake pressure in the Polo R WRC so far was measured at 74.8 bars in 2014. If you wanted to experience this pressure, you would have to dive 748 metres. Warning: Not every submarine can cope with that. +++

Fact 15 +++ One of the most nimble mechanical components in the Polo R WRC is the turbocharger. During a WRC season, the three turbo paddle wheels of all three Volkswagen Polo R WRCs together complete a total of 1,312,565,550 revolutions. The 1.6-litre turbo engine also pushes the boundaries of physics: At the maximum speed of 8,500 revs per min-1 stipulated in the regulations, each of the four pistons changes its direction of movement 17.7 times per second. Each of the pistons covers 78.41 metres per minute at the maximum speed. +++

Fact 16 +++ The three Polo R WRCs drain the equivalent of about 20 hot air balloons in a rally season: The 315 hp engines “breathe” about 75,840 cubic metres of air through the air restrictors during the 13 rallies. +++

Fact 17 +++ During a season, the Volkswagen Motorsport team covers about 100,000 kilometres. That's the same distance as travelling around the globe two and a half times. This figure doesn't even include the 47,217.62 kilometres of the sea cargo round-trips for the three overseas rallies. +++

Fact 18 +++ Volkswagen Motorsport travels to the European rallies with a total of seven trucks. These contain all three Polo R WRCs, the complete recce equipment, the office for the engineers and team management, all replacement parts, tools, rims, tyre frames, a cleaning system for the parts, as well as the structures required for the service area. In addition there are a total of three trucks for setting up the team and media hospitality areas and a truck with toilets. +++

Fact 19 +++ 16 cupboards for replacement parts and tools, about 40 aluminium boxes with additional parts and special tools, plus 15 steel storage racks for equipment and replacement parts – the Volkswagen service area resembles a workshop at a European rally. At the overseas rallies, the additional equipment and replacement parts that are shipped as air cargo are packed into about 40 flight cases. +++

Fact 20 +++ Only 66 different tools – from an impact wrench to a wire brush, from replacement blades for the cutter to a torque wrench, from a screwdriver to a measuring tape – are needed to service the Polo R WRC. 15 additional tools are needed for the initial construction and to prepare for the rallies. +++

Fact 21 +++ During the first nine rallies of the season, the three Volkswagen drivers changed gears a combined total of 57,155 times on the 428 special stages they completed. +++


VW-humanFact 22 +++ Volkswagen Motorsport is delighted to have more than four million Facebook fans on its official page. However, the most successful post on the Facebook social network reached many more people when it went viral – around 4.7 million, with about one million interactions on this single post. +++

Fact 23 +++ Around 36,000 fans follow the live reports from the world championship rallies on the microblogging service Twitter. Since January 2013, Volkswagen Motorsport has already uploaded just less than 5,000 tweets on the 23 WRC starts. +++

Fact 24 +++ During the rallies Volkswagen Motorsport sends information to journalists via SMS texts. In the 2014 season, 244,670 SMS texts were sent to the growing number of recipients in nine rallies. In comparison, a total of 185,415 were sent in 2013. +++

Fact 25 +++ The press releases that are distributed via e-mail provide a media service that is just as extensive. Up to and including the Rally Germany, the 67 press releases on the WRC in German and English have a combined total of 514 pages of pure information. +++

Fact 26 +++ The Volkswagen mechanics and guests drink a total of about 240 litres of coffee per rally. The beverage manufacturer and Volkswagen partner, Red Bull, provides the WRC team with another vital tonic: Around 1400 cans of the energy drink are consumed each rally. +++

Fact 27 +++ The Volkswagen engineers also have plenty to read: They evaluate around 17.5 gigabytes of data each rally year – this is the same as about 3.1 million pages of pure text. +++

Fact 28 +++ The current average age of the three Volkswagen drivers is exactly 28 years and 174 days. For the co-drivers this is 40 years and 284 days. +++

Fact 29 +++ 6 to 3 – that's the ratio of season victories in nine rallies in 2014. Sébastien Ogier won in Monte Carlo, Mexico, Portugal, Italy and Poland, Jari-Matti Latvala won in Sweden, Argentina, Finland and Australia. +++

Fact 30 +++ The most successful driver of a Polo R WRC is Sébastien Ogier. In 23 starts, the Frenchman has bagged 19 podium finishes and 191 best times on special stages. Ogier has won 15 times with the World Rally Car from Wolfsburg. Jari-Matti Latvala has had 13 podium finishes in his Volkswagen career, four of which were victories. He has contributed 90 best times to Volkswagen's success. Andreas Mikkelsen has four podium finishes to the good and 17 best times. +++

Fact 31 +++ A perfect team performance provides Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen with detailed and important information: Weather expert Silke Hansen provides weather forecasts on site during the rallies, which are supported by the weather crew with information on the special stages. All the information is sent to “Dakar” winner Timo Gottschalk, who also receives the split times and passes this on to the engineers. +++

Fact 32 +++ Incidentally, Nicolas Vouilloz, who is part of Sébastien Ogier's gravel crew, is dubbed the “inventor of crossed tyres”. In cloudy and changeable weather conditions, the rally drivers increasingly opt for crossed tyres. “We piloted this in tyre tests with Michelin years ago and it worked better than driving with different tyres on the front and rear axles. We were the first to implement this in competitive racing,” said the 37-year-old from Nice, who is also a master of extremes on two wheels: Vouilloz won the Downhill Mountain Bike World Championship ten times. +++

Fact 33 +++ The Volkswagen team is made up of more than 20 nations – including employees from Australia, Belgium, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. +++

Fact 34 +++ One of the keys to Volkswagen's success is their team spirit. The works team from Wolfsburg is characterised by the fact that the development and engagement of the Polo R WRC is managed entirely by the motorsport department. The committed unit that has grown over the years is made up of professional full-time mechanics, logisticians and engineers. Of the team members planned to be on site for 2014, around half of them were already involved in the three “Dakar” victories in South America. To be precise, 48.35 percent of the unit were also behind the victories in Argentina and Chile achieved in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with the Race Touareg. +++

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.

Photos: Peter Whitten, VW

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