Sebastien Ogier clinched his third consecutive FIA World Rally Championship crown on Sunday by claiming an unlikely victory in Rally Australia.
The unique nature of the running order for the rally meant that Ogier often had to contend with the worst conditions on the gravel stages, running ahead of his rivals to leave them with a cleaner course.
This had allowed Citroen’s Kris Meeke to move into the lead, but an incorrect tire call on Saturday caused the Briton to drop back and hand the advantage back to Ogier.
A perfect Sunday saw Ogier win the rally by 12.3 seconds from Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala and clinch his third consecutive world championship in emphatic fashion.
“It’s an amazing season, the best I’ve ever done,” Ogier said. “No mistakes, so many great performances and this one is once again a very high one.
“It’s the most difficult rally to open the road and still we managed to win. It’s the perfect way to get my third title.”
Latvala extended his advantage for second place in the drivers’ championship by completing a VW one-two in Australia, whilst Meeke recovered from his setback to score his second podium finish of the year in third.
Andreas Mikkelsen was unable to join his VW teammates on the podium, finishing fourth overall. However, the German marque’s success was enough to clinch it the manufacturers’ championship ahead of Hyundai. Ogier’s co-driver, Julien Ingrassia, also won his respective title in Australia.
New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon took full advantage of his promotion to the Hyundai A-team for the weekend to finish fifth overall, and was followed home by Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville. Dani Sordo, Elfyn Evans and Nasser Al-Attiyah rounded out the top ten.
The WRC returns at the beginning of October with the Rallye de France in Corsica.