WRC Spain: Ogier takes dramatic victory after comeback
|Sunday, October 27th 2013, 14:15 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier completed an astounding comeback drive to win the Rally of Spain and help give Volkswagen the World Rally Championship manufacturers' title in its first year back.
Having clinched the drivers' title in France earlier this month, Ogier began the penultimate round of the season in commanding style as he dominated Friday night's stages.
A puncture on Saturday then cost him a minute, and he began Sunday's deciding six stages 42s behind his rally leading team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
Despite many drivers struggling with dust hanging in the morning air, Ogier mounted an incredible charge on the final morning to take 28s out of the Finn as he moved up to third.
By the penultimate stage, Ogier was in the lead - although he was helped by Latvala's car beginning to wilt, finishing SS14 with flames coming from under the bonnet.
Latvala then ran off the pace through the final stage, as Ogier claimed victory by half a minute.
Citroen's Dani Sordo had been a major factor in the victory battle on his home event and was just 1.6s behind Latvala starting the final day.
But he lost time through the morning and then crashed out with just one stage to go.
That elevated Sordo's team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to third. He benefitted from Thierry Neuville picking up a puncture on his M-Sport Ford on Sunday morning, dropping the Belgian to an eventual fourth, ahead of team-mate Evgeny Novikov.
Hayden Paddon took eighth on his first outing in a World Rally Car, while Robert Kubica claimed the WRC 2 title with a dominant class win in ninth overall.
Leading finishers after SS15: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier VW 3h33m21.2s 2. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +32.9s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen +1m13.7s 4. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford +1m33.9s 5. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford +2m01.0s 6. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford +2m26.0s 7. Martin Prokop Czech Ford +4m55.8s 8. Hayden Paddon M-Sport Ford +6m55.7s 9. Robert Kubica PH Citroen +11m14.1s* 10. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari M-Sport Ford +13m26.8s * WRC 2 Other WRC finishers: 11. Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen +13m30.5s WRC retirements: Andreas Mikkelsen VW SS15 Dani Sordo Citroen SS14 Nasser Al-Attiyah M-Sport Ford SS9