* Champ vs. Challenger: Ogier out to wrap things up, Latvala to set up super finale
* Possible milestones: more records within Volkswagen’s sights
*Great opportunity: Mikkelsen targets maiden WRC win
Will it all be done and dusted? Or are we set for a super finale? The title race in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship enters the finishing straight at the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC): the Rally Spain (23.10.–26.10.). The spotlight at the 12th of this season’s 13 rallies will be on the Volkswagen pairings of World Championship leaders Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN).
The formula for success is simple for the remaining two contenders for the WRC crown: whoever finishes ahead of their closest rivals will have achieved their major goal for the rally. If defending champions Ogier and Ingrassia score one point more than their only challengers Latvala and Anttila, the Driver and Co-Driver titles will be theirs.
However, should Latvala/Anttila finish ahead of their team-mates, the stage will be set for the ultimate in grand finales three weeks later at the Rally Great Britain. And then another aspect comes into play, which would only ever be possible in the battle for the World Championship title: Latvala/Anttila have surreptitiously become huge fans of Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N).
Were the pair currently third in the World Championship to finish ahead of Ogier/Ingrassia but behind the Finnish duo – as they did in Sweden and most recently in France – that would increase Latvala’s chances of ending the season as World Champion. However, Mikkelsen/Fløene are not there to do their Nordic colleagues any favours: after five podiums in a row, the Norwegian pair are hungry for their maiden victory.
“I have never felt such a huge desire to win among our drivers and co-drivers since we first entered the World Rally Championship with the Polo R WRC,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Any one of them can make history if they are successful. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia could wrap up their second World Championship title in a row – preferably with a win. In contrast, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila are looking to keep the title race alive – again, preferably with a win.
With five top-three finishes to their name, Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene have already far exceeded their goal of bringing three podiums to Wolfsburg this season. However, they too have their sights set on bringing their fabulous season to a perfect end – preferably with a win. As a team, you cannot wish for greater motivation ahead of the Rally Spain. We are looking forward to a real showdown.”