Sebastien ogier became the new world champion right at the start of his home rally and made VW’s triumphant return to the world rally championship a perfect one.
Three weeks ago, on the other side of the world in australia, he was just one point short of an early triumph, but the 29-year-old scored the decisive winner with his third place on the power stage of the france-elsass rally.
With 213 points, ogier can no longer be caught up in the world rally championship rankings. Even if pursuer thierry neuville, who finished second behind spanish daniel sordo on thursday, wins the race in france and then takes it all in spain and wales – the belgian can’t come close to ogier in the ford.
"I am overjoyed and could embrace the whole world. The feeling of winning the world championship title in my home country of all places is indescribable. For me, this is a dream come true. The relief is enormous. Without the great VW team, this success would never have been possible. Now, of course, I also want to win this rally," said ogier.
Ogier’s home game would have been over by a hair on thursday before the rally had even started. During the morning training session, the frenchman experienced a moment of shock when a metal bollard that had been lowered into the ground suddenly reappeared in the first left-hand bend. Luck for ogier that spectators could warn the VW driver just in time. "If i had hit that thing, the rally would already have been over for me," said ogier.
Ogier’s premier title also sees him overtake series champion and first cousin sebastien loeb. The 39-year-old moves completely to the touring car world championship with citroen in 2014, this season he only competed sporadically. The rally in front of his hausture in the alps is the emotional conclusion of a unique career with nine titles in a row – making loeb the world’s most successful motor sportsman.
Ogier also wants to win a new era with VW. But he doesn’t like the comparison with the ten-year-old former world champion at all. "I can tell you that I am not the new loeb, I am ogier. I’ve heard this comparison so many times – we don’t need it anymore," he once said. How ogier dominated this year, winning six of the ten races so far with his co-driver julien ingrassia, was nevertheless reminiscent of the dominance of his predecessor.
After second place at the start of the classic rally in monte carlo – behind loeb – ogier pulled away from the field with a hat trick of victories. And so the title was clinched. "He drove a fantastic season, unbelievable," praised formula 1 world champion sebastian vettel in faraway south korea.
The driver from heppenheim pointed out that ogier initially also took a step backwards after switching from citroen to VW at the end of 2011. "He has sacrificed a few possible victories to come back and win the title this year with VW"."Because before ogier drove the new polo R WRC at the front this year, he competed in the skoda fabia S2000 in 2012. Along the way, the winning goal was developed and tested. "They had a plan," vettel stressed.
And it worked. Ogier had made his WRC debut in mexico in 2008. In the same year he became world junior champion. In his citroen days, he sometimes had to bow to loeb and the team’s order. World championship rank three 2011 was the best placement. Then came the change, the apprenticeship year and now the masterpiece for the trained ski instructor from gap in the departements hautes-alpes is accomplished.