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Ogier world champion again

The Volkswagen Motorsport rally driver again succeeded in defending his title in the drivers’ standings.

A familiar, nonetheless pleasing, photo: Sébastien Ogier climbs up onto his Polo R WRC together with his co-pilot Julien Ingrassia after crossing the finishing line, and throws both arms in the air. There were, however, other emotions being laid bare at the Rally of Spain last Sunday – far more intense ones. Not only did Ogier celebrate his fifth victory for the season, but also gained his fourth World Champion title*

“It wasn’t an easy season, but it was still a fantastic one,” as Ogier says. “I want to thank the entire team. Our vehicle was perfect over the whole weekend, and it was a joy to drive it. After dropping out of this test last year, there were a lot of thoughts racing through my head. That makes the relief all the greater.” Ogier just missed out on victory in Spain last year by meters, having gotten stuck on the crash barrier.

»I want to thank the entire team. Our vehicle was perfect over the whole weekend, and it was a joy to drive it.«

By Saturday, all the signs were already pointing to success with the fourth title. Ogier, after overcoming problems at the start, not only effortlessly left his arch rival in the rankings, Dani Sordo (Hyundai), behind him on the muddy gravel stage of the track, but was also able to breathe out when his team colleague, Andreas Mikkelsen, dropped out of the rally in a spectacular way: Mikkelsen raced around a corner way too fast, ramming a crash barrier, launching into the air, and overturning several times. The rally was over, and Mikkelsen had to retire from it early. Until then, the Norwegian driver, second in the World Championship at the time, had been in third place.

Nor did the Rally of Spain go particularly well for the third Volkswagen driver: Jari-Matti Latvala had already dropped behind at the Rally of Spain, held in and around Salou, on the Friday. The tests were all held on gravel. On the longest stage of the entire rally, totaling 38.95 kilometers, the Finnish driver damaged the vehicle’s suspension and fell behind. He then managed to prove, however, what his Polo R WRC is capable of. He drove to several victories in the asphalt tests on Saturday, and managed to cut some of his losses.

The victory at the World Constructors’ Championship may still be a long time coming. The next rally, however, is already being held in Wales in just under two weeks’ time.

* subject to confirmation by the FIA.