Sebastien Ogier is a 6 times WRC champion!
M-Sport Ford’s Sebastien Ogier claimed his 6 WRC title in a row, despite only finishing 5th in the season ending Rally Australia. Going into the event, Ogier lead the championship from Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville by 3 points with Toyota’s Ott Tanak in third, a further 20 points adrift. With a total of 30 points up for grabs, all three had a chance of claiming the championship.
All three title challengers had a tough day 1. As a result of being the championship leader, Ogier took to the road first and struggled with a lack of grip on the unswept gravel tracks, finishing the day in 7th. Neuville’s day was ruined by a puncture, and Tanak’s Yaris took on water through a river crossing damaging the front aero and spoiling the car’s handling. At the end of the day, Neuville was 10th and Tanak 5th.
Tanak had a much more successful day 2. His blistering pace lifting him to the top of the leader board, with a 20 second advantage. Ogier also began to find some pace, but only managed to move up one place. Neuville once again struggled, but did claim his way up to 8th.
With only three stages remaining of the rally, the drama unfolded. On SS22, Neuville clipped a tree causing him to retire, followed by Tanak the next stage after a transmission issue. Ogier could now go into the final power stage, knowing he was champion. After Tanak’s retirement, his Toyota team mate Jari Matti Latvala was promoted to top spot, a position he held on to to claim his first victory since 2017’s Rally Sweden. Ogier signed off his season in style, winning the final stage.
Toyota had further reason to celebrate , Latvala’s victory ensured they won the constructor’s championship, in only their second season since re-joining the WRC.
Image taken from https://www.wrc.com/en/wrc/news/november-2018/australia-breaking/page/5906--12-12-.html - 21/11/18