Three-time FIA World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Ogier continued his perfect start to the 2016 season by claiming maximum points at this weekend’s Rally Sweden.
The event in Karlstad looked poised to be cancelled earlier in the week after a lack of snowfall in the area reduced many parts of the rally into a gravel course.
A revised 12-stage rally was brokered to ensure that the event still went ahead, with Ogier leading from start to finish across the three days of running.
The Frenchman came under pressure from Hayden Paddon on Saturday, who cut the deficit at the front down to just 8.8 seconds in his first run in the Hyundai i20.
However, Ogier managed to keep his cool and open up the gap once again before eventually completing the rally with an advantage of almost half a minute.
The result continued Ogier’s perfect start to the season following his victory in Monaco last month, giving him 56/56 possible points at the top of the championship standings.
“Two wins from the first two rallies – it can’t get any better,” Ogier said. “Yesterday was a little bit too crazy and I took risks like I had never done in my life. Conditions were terrible at the beginning of the week but the organisers did an impressive job so that we had a good rally.”
Paddon retained second place until the finish to match his best ever WRC result and become the first non-European to stand on the podium in Sweden. Mads Østberg finished the rally in third place for M-Sport Ford ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen and Ott Tanak.
Following the conclusion of the rally, event organizers in Karlstad announced that they had agreed a new three-year hosting deal for Rally Sweden, safeguarding its future until the end of 2019.
“The negotiations have been going on for almost six months and today Rally Sweden can confirm that a new three year contract with WRC Promoter has been signed,” a statement read.
“One week ago we were more dead than alive and couldn’t see any future for the event. Now, once again, we have managed to put on an amazing event and it is an amazing feeling to be able to confirm that we have agreed on a new three year contract.
“We have an absolutely amazing organization that proves that we can pull through the hardest of times.”