Poignant win for Ogier in GB
Second place for Meeke helped Citroen secure the championship runner-up spot
France’s Sébastien Ogier claimed an emotional victory at a storm-lashed Wales Rally GB on Sunday and dedicated his success to the victims of Friday night’s tragic events in Paris.
The three-time world champion considered pulling out of the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship on Saturday morning but decided to continue, and secured his eighth victory of the season by 26.0sec from Ulsterman Kris Meeke.
"We’re happy to finish the season like that from a sporting view, but my mind wasn’t really there this weekend. It was hard to carry on after the tragedy in France and our thoughts were with the people. We wanted this victory as our small sign for those who have been touched, and to show we must be even stronger against these things," said Ogier.
He led the three-day event from start to finish in some of the worst conditions of the year. Torrential rain and gale force winds pounded the forests of north and mid-Wales but Ogier never put a wheel out of place in his Volkswagen Polo R on treacherous gravel tracks.
Meeke also delivered a perfect performance. The DS 3 driver refused to risk all in chasing Ogier, preferring a more measured approach which, allied to Mads Østberg’s seventh place, enabled Citroën to beat Hyundai for second in the manufacturers’ standings.
Andreas Mikkelsen completed the podium in another Polo R but it wasn’t enough to secure second in the drivers’ series. That went to team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, who twice retired in the opening two legs before claiming maximum bonus points in today’s live TV Power Stage.
Ott Tänak crashed out of fourth in today’s opening stage, allowing Dani Sordo to regain the place he yielded yesterday by spinning into a bank. The Hyundai i20 driver finished 9.2sec ahead of team-mate Hayden Paddon.
Elfyn Evans delighted his home fans with sixth in a Ford Fiesta, 8.6sec behind the Kiwi and 1min 20sec ahead of Østberg. The Norwegian ran as high as fourth before sliding into a ditch, and spent much of the rally mopping up muddy water which entered his DS 3’s cockpit through a hole in the floor.
Stéphane Lefebvre overcame flu to take eighth in another DS 3, with Robert Kubica and Lorenzo Bertelli completing the leaderboard.
Thierry Neuville failed to restart today after yesterday’s crash. The roll cage in his i20 was too damaged to continue.
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