Volkswagen demolished the competition in the 2014 World Rally Championship, winning both the driver’s and manufacturer’s championships. In fact, out of all the races throughout the season, only one stage was won by a manufacturer team other than Volkswagen.
The German automaker’s team beat Citroën’s previous 11-win streak with 12 wins, bagging the manufacturers’ championship at the earliest point in the season in 25 years. VW also has become the second manufacturer to claim the top three places in the drivers’ championship, after Lancia in 1987 and 1988. But perhaps the following truly puts VW’s accomplishments into perspective: there were 249 special stages in the 2014 WRC race, and a VW Polo won 197 of them.
Even though Volkswagen found its drivers clinching wins across the globe with ease, driver Sébastien Ogier thought the season to be challenging, although more satisfying than his 2013 win. He points out that teammate Jari-Matti Latvala improved for the 2014 season, adding to the tension for the year. In addition, that one stage that Volkswagen didn’t win in Germany was the result of Ogier crashing not once, but twice. The second time sent him to the local hospital, opening up the race for Hyundai’s taking.
Citroën, previously the dominating force in WRC, came in second behind Volkswagen. In that regard, it would appear that the French automaker has some soul-searching to do after the departure of Loeb from its camp.
For the time being, Volkswagen’s near-sweep must have the motorsports team on cloud nine, but history shows that WRC isn’t a sport where teams sit idly by, so the 2015 season is poised to be fierce one.