Victory for Ogier in Polish High Speed Adventure – Rally Poland 2015 Report

The seventh round of the 2015 World Rally Championship saw a change from slow and unforgiving gravel roads to fast and flowing ones, for the Lotos Rally Poland 2015. The crews tackled 19 special stages comprising of 313 competitive kilometres. In a rally where only a matter of seconds covered the WRC drivers on a stage, it was reigning World Champion Sebastien Ogier who continued his dominance of this year’s Championship by claiming victory by 11.9 seconds from his Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen whilst Ott Tanak had arguably his best ever WRC rally by claiming third place overall and only 23 seconds off the winner.

Day one was made up of nine special stages, including two super special stages. As has been the case for the majority of gravel rallies this season, Ogier found it difficult to sweep the road clear on the first run through stages but in the afternoon pushed on to take the lead by a miniscule two seconds from Mikkelsen. Jari-Matti Latvala made it a Volkswagen 1-2-3 by holding the final podium position, just ahead of Tanak. Hayden Paddon continued his fine run of form in his Hyundai, following his second place finish last time out in Sardinia, by holding fifth place ahead of local hero Robert Kubica, who was on course for his best finish of the season. The Citroens were strangely well off the pace and Kris Meeke and Mads Ostberg could only manage eighth and tenth respectively at the close of the day, shadowing the seventh and ninth place Hyundais of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

The second day of action saw eight stages across 129 kilometers and at the top of the leader board the battle intensified between Ogier and Mikkelsen, with the gap between the pair never being above a few seconds. The Frenchman held on to his lead but it was only by 5.6 seconds. Behind them, a great day from Estonian Tanak saw him overhaul Latvala for third place overall. The gap between them at the close of day two was even smaller than the battle for the lead at just one and a half seconds. Paddon held on to a strong fifth overall as a spin from Kubica on the day’s opener handed sixth place to Neuville’s Hyundai. The only other change in the top 10 saw Ostberg getting past Sordo despite being handed a 10 second time penalty for jumping the start on stage 8. Outside the points, Brit Elfyn Evans was forced to retire from the day due to a water pump failure, giving his eleventh place overall to Czech driver Martin Prokop.

Just two runs through the 14.6km Baranowo stage stood between the crews and the finish of the high speed Rally Poland, with the second run being used as the Power Stage, where the top three drivers receive extra points in the Drivers’ Championship. Ogier was flawless through both runs and took the maximum three points on the Power Stage, but only by 0.1 of a second from Tanak, who finished in a comfortable third place after a 40 second time penalty was applied to Latvala’s Volkswagen. This dropped him to fifth behind Paddon, who was in his best ever vein of form. Neuville held on to sixth from Meeke, as Kubica lost another place to the Brit thanks to a puncture on the final stage of the rally. Ostberg and Sordo took the final points but Sordo was less than three minutes behind Ogier, showing just how close this rally was.

The support categories were equally as close as the main WRC category. WRC 2 saw a huge entry list of 27 cars and it was Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi who led from start to finish. His victory margin in the end was nearly a minute from another Scandinavian driver in a Skoda, Pontus Tidemand. Karl Kruuda took the final podium position in a Citroen DS3 ahead of Jari Ketomaa. WRC 3 and Junior WRC was won by Italian Simone Tempestini. It was Brit Osian Pryce who originally was in the lead but couldn’t hold off the Italian; Pryce took second ahead of Henri Haapamaki.

The win for Ogier in Poland means that his Championship lead is extended further to 78 points and with just six events remaining, the Frenchman looks odds on to win another Drivers’ Championship.

Final Classification – Rally Poland 2015

Pos. Driver Name Co-Driver Name Car Time/Diff
1 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Volkswagen Polo R WRC 2:26:11.5
2 A. Mikkelsen O. Floene Volkswagen Polo R WRC +11.9
3 O. Tanak R. Molder Ford Fiesta RS WRC +23.0
4 H. Paddon J. Kennard Hyundai i20 WRC +1:14.6
5 J. Latvala M. Anttila Volkswagen Polo R WRC +1:24.7
6 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 WRC +1:44.5
7 K. Meeke P. Nagle Citroen DS3 WRC +1:57.7
8 R. Kubica M. Szczepaniak Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2:08.3
9 M. Ostberg J. Andersson Citroen DS3 WRC +2:18.2
10 D. Sordo M. Marti Citroen DS3 WRC +2:48.4

WRC 2 Classification

Pos. Driver Name Co-Driver Name Car Time/Diff
1 E. Lappi J. Ferm Skoda Fabia R5 2:32:02.6
2 P. Tidemand E. Axelsson Skoda Fabia R5 +56.1
3 K. Kruuda M. Jarveoja Citroen DS3 R5 +2:05.3
4 J. Ketomaa K. Lindstrom Ford Fiesta R5 +4:54.1
5 A. Kremer P. Winklhofer Skoda Fabia R5 +5:11.9
6 T. Suninen M. Markkula Skoda Fabia S2000 +5:25.6
7 N. Fuchs F. Mussano Ford Fiesta R5 +6:38.4
8 J. Maurin N. Klinger Ford Fiesta RRC +7:04.7
9 S. Parn J. Morgan Ford Fiesta R5 +7:38.5
10 K. Holowczyc L. Kurzeja Ford Fiesta R5 +11:58.1

WRC 3/ Junior WRC Classification

Pos. Driver Name Co-Driver Name Car Time/Diff
1 S. Tempestini M. Chiarcossi Citroen DS3 R3T Max 2:47:32.3
2 O. Pryce D. Furniss Citroen DS3 R3T Max +47.9
3 H. Haapamaki M. Salminen Citroen DS3 R3T Max +1:42.2
4 M. Margaillan F. Gordon Citroen DS3 R3T Max +4:16.1
5 F. Andolfi* S. Scattolin Peugeot 208 VTi R2 +4:54.2
6 T. Folb* F. Le Floch Citroen DS3 R3T Max +7:33.7
7 D. De Tommaso* M. Bosi Peugeot 208 VTi R2 +8:39.2
8 F. Della Casa D. Pozzi Citroen DS3 R3T Max +10:07.0
9 M. Al-Mutawaa S. McAuley Citroen DS3 R3T Max +17:47.2
10 A. Crugnola* M. Ferrara Renault Clio RS R3T +25:59.7

* Not eligible for Junior WRC Points

Rally Poland 2015 Logo

Drivers’ Championship After Round 7

Pos. Driver Name Poland Points Overall Points
1 S. Ogier 25 + 3 161
2 A. Mikkelsen 18 + 1 83
3 M. Ostberg 2 69
4 J. Latvala 10 66
5 T. Neuville 8 58
6 K. Meeke 6 53
7 E. Evans R 53
8 H. Paddon 12 44
9 O. Tanak 15 + 2 40
10 D. Sordo 1 39

Manufacturers’ Championship After Round 7

Pos. Team Name Poland Points Overall Points
1 Volkswagen 25 + 10 214
2 Citroen 6 + 4 125
3 Hyundai 8 + 2 123
4 M-Sport 15 + 0 114
5 Volkswagen II 18 49
6 Hyundai Mobis 12 43
7 Jipocar Czech 1 35
8 F.W.R.T 0 3

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