Red Bull driver Sebastien Ogier may have won Rallye Deutschland last year, but there’s not much chance of that this year – as he’s driving a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 entered by Volkswagen Motorsport as the German team prepares for its debut season with its all-new Polo R WRC.
Ogier’s not the only one in a Volkswagen-run Skoda this weekend: the German team fields its biggest-ever entry for its home event, with juniors Andreas Mikkelsen and Sepp Wiegand also lined up at the start.
So the big question is…who will be Ogier’s team-mate next year? Could it be another Red Bull-backed driver? Ogier would certainly like it to be.
“Luckily it’s not up to me,” says the Red Bull-backed Frenchman. “I’d love to have Carlos Sainz as my team-mate, but it would be difficult for him to get straight back to the top after so many years! His experience in testing though is really valuable. Dani Sordo is a friend of mine, we have a good relationship, and I would be happy to have him as my team-mate. He’s quick – especially on asphalt – and we’re about the same age. He’s a very good driver and I think he’s shown what he can do in the Mini this year.”
So that’s a firm vote for Sordo from Ogier – but the rumours that Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala is heading for Hanover next year aren’t going away. “That’s far from being a done deal,” pointed out Latvala’s manager Timo Jouhki – which suggests that it won’t be too long before the ink is dry on the contract.
But Volkswagen has hinted that there will be a third car for a junior driver, possibly even from the start of the year, with reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Mikkelsen the preferred candidate. Equally, Volkswagen has been keen from the beginning to discover Germany’s next Walter Rohrl – could Wiegand (who has also shown himself to be pretty handy in the IRC) be the answer? Their showdown on Rallye Deutschland will be absolutely crucial.
- World Rally Chamionship website
- Four-wheel racing on redbull.com
- Watch videos on the official WRC YouTube channel
- More Red Bull Motor Sports