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
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