HIGH DRAMA IN SPAIN

The penul­ti­mate round of the 2015 WRC sea­son saw cham­pion Sébastien Ogier crash on Sun­day, hand­ing the win to Volk­swa­gen Mo­tor­sport II driver Andreas Mikkelsen

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RALLY RACC CATALUNYA-COSTA Dau­rada wit­nessed some in­tense ac­tion be­tween VW Mo­tor­sport teams. VW’s top driver Ogier re­tired af­ter run­ning wide in a left-han­der and crash­ing into the bar­ri­ers while Lat­vala and Mikkelsen slugged it out through­out the rally.

The week­end started off with Ogier lead­ing the way and end­ing the day with a com­mand­ing lead. He con­tin­ued to re­main first on Satur­day as well. Be­hind Ogier, Jari Matti Lat­vala of Volk­swa­gen Mo­tor­sport was hav­ing a tough time de­fend­ing his sec­ond place against VW Mo­tor­sport II’s Andreas Mikkelsen and Hyundai Mo­tor­sport’s Dani Sordo, who was hop­ing for a home win.

Sordo ended Thurs­day in ninth. On Fri­day, how­ever, the Spa­niard man­aged to bet­ter his tim­ing and, for a brief pe­riod, he even slipped into the sec­ond place. Mean­while, Lat­vala was strug­gling to main­tain sec­ond place thanks to a punc­ture on Satur­day. In the event, he came back stronger from the punc­ture and re­gained his sec­ond spot. Mikkelsen main­tained his third place on day two and three. On Sun­day, he in­creased his pace, over­tak­ing Lat­vala for the sec­ond spot.

By now Ogier had a com­fort­able lead of over 50 sec­onds and it seemed that the French­man was in­vin­ci­ble, but with just four kilo­me­tres to go on the fi­nal stage, he ran into trou­ble af­ter run­ning wide into a tight left-han­der which dam­aged the car, forc­ing him to re­tire. This meant that Andreas Mikkelsen, who had al­ready bettered his tim­ing and was now run­ning sec­ond, was now lead­ing the rally. Lat­vala was not far off, though.

The duel in­ten­si­fied as the driv­ers ap­proached the che­quered flag. With no more stages left, Lat­vala had to fin­ish be­hind Mikkelsen, who took his first rally win in Spain. Af­ter fin­ish­ing first, Mikkelsen did say that this was not an ideal fin­ish for him, though he seemed con­tent with his win.

The last round of the sea­son will be held in Great Bri­tain and, with just 26 points sep­a­rat­ing Mikkelsen and Lat­vala, it would be in­ter­est­ing to see which VW team driver will be sec­ond in the cham­pi­onship.

VW Mo­tor­sport II in the num­ber one spot; Mikkelsen claimed his first win in Spain

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