Sébastien wins in Australia but misses the title!
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Sébastien wins in Australia but misses the title!

16/09/2013

Winner of the 13th rally of his WRC career, Sébastien Ogier secures his leadership in the overall standings, but fails to seize the world title. A result which should however allow him to be crowned during the Rally France-Alsace!

With only a dozen rounds registered in the annual calendar of the World Rally Championship (thirteen in 2013), a final victory in any of them usually generates a huge amount of joy for any crew (just remember the happiness showed by Dani Sordo after his victory at the ADAC Deutschland Rally a few weeks ago!). This week-end’s success, at the Rally Australia, is definitely a bitter one for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia: despite a well-dominated round for the Volkswagen pair, their efforts have not been repaid by the world title they were expecting.

After a slow start, where the young Andreas Mikkelsen, discovered the delight of leading a WRC round, Sébastien Ogier quickly took the lead after the third special stage. “I started behind most of the drivers, who had swept the road for me. On gravel, with all the dust, it’s primordial. I definitely benefited from better conditions than my predecessors”, explained the smiling Frenchman at the end of the second leg.

However, suspense in the World Rally Championship was back on track after the ultimate stage of the final leg. Flawless all along the week-end (19 best times out of 22!), Volkswagen Motorsport’s French duo thought that they had won the world title once they crossed SS22 “Shipman 2”’s finish line. “I told myself “That’s it, we did it”, explains Sébastien Ogier. Then, when I heard at the radio “Congratulations, you won, but you are not world champions yet”, I was a bit surprised. It was confusing.” Due to an unexplainable puncture on his Citroën DS3 WRC, Mikko Hirvonen lost time and had to let the second place to Thierry Neuville, who hence preserves all his chances for this year’s final title. At least, only if he succeeds in winning the three remaining rounds, and the Power Stages, while Sébastien Ogier does not score any point. Let’s say that the probability for the young Belgian to be crowned this year is, for the moment, purely mathematical!

One point: it is what keeps Sébastien Ogier, and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia, apart from the World Rally Champions title. An insignificant margin that the French crew hopes to fulfill during the Championship’s next round… in Alsace!

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