Rally Poland: Sebastien Ogier defeats Andreas Mikkelsen to win

Sebastien Ogier claimed his fifth victory of the 2015 World Rally Championship with another commanding performance for Volkswagen on Rally Poland

Rally Poland: Sebastien Ogier defeats Andreas Mikkelsen to win

Andreas Mikkelsen completed a VW one-two, but a superb performance from M-Sport's Ott Tanak - coupled with Jari-Matti Latvala smacking a tree on the final stage - denied the champion team a podium sweep.

Yet again Ogier's own pessimism about how much running first on the road would hamper him proved unfounded.

There were occasions when running first helped Ogier as dust hung in the air and caused visibility issues for some of those behind, but his triumph was largely down to simply driving faster than everyone else.

Tanak and Mikkelsen both had spells in the lead on Friday, but Ogier hit the front that afternoon.

He was never headed again, even though a lack of day-one retirements to generate Rally 2 runners for Saturday meant he was first on the road for all bar Sunday's two stages.

Mikkelsen kept Ogier on his toes until the final morning, when the champion broke his team-mate's challenge with a pair of stage wins to secure an 11.9-second victory margin.

Though Tanak benefited from running 11th on the road, he was comfortably faster than anyone else with a road-position advantage.

The Ford driver had dropped as low as fourth amid brake concerns and high tyre wear in Friday afternoon's scorching temperatures followed by a Saturday morning spin, before regaining his composure and catching Latvala.

He took a one-second cushion into the powerstage, where Latvala ran wide and deranged the front of his VW on a tree.

Though Latvala still held fourth on the results, he will struggle to get his damaged car back to the official finish at service and may yet be a retirement.

NEWS UPDATE: Latvala gets penalty after crash repair

Either way, Tanak wrapped up his first podium since 2012, and was only beaten to the powerstage win by Ogier by one tenth of a second.

Hayden Paddon could not replicate his Sardinia heroics, but worked his way up to fifth in the best of the Hyundais, often making a different tyre strategy to his rivals work.

His team-mate Thierry Neuville gave chase all weekend, then rolled on the penultimate stage, though he continued with minimal time loss in a battered car to clinch sixth.

Robert Kubica battled the Hyundais for much of the event in one of his most consistent gravel rallies yet, although a puncture from an impact with a rock on the final stage dropped him to eighth.

A string of close second places on the three runnings of the superspecial had been his crowd-pleasing highlight.

A terrible weekend for Citroen began with Kris Meeke crashing heavily on the shakedown.

Though he initially challenged for the top five in his repaired car, his pace faded and he only picked up seventh once Kubica was delayed.

Meeke at least outpaced team-mate Mads Ostberg, who was never competitive and spent the weekend battling the similarly muted Hyundai of Dani Sordo.

Elfyn Evans was the only World Rally Car retirement, his M-Sport Ford's water pump breaking on Saturday, although Hyundai's fourth driver Kevin Abbring was delayed with two incidents on leg two.

Esapekka Lappi dominated WRC2 in the new Skoda, giving the WRC midfielders plenty to think about with his pace.

Leading Rally Poland results:

-

Leading powerstage times:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 6m52.0s
2 Ott Tanak, R.Molder M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 0.1s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen, O.Floene Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 3.8s
4 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 5.5s
5 Mads Ostberg, J.Andersson Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 7.2s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 161
2 Andreas Mikkelsen 83
3 Mads Ostberg 69
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 66
5 Thierry Neuville 58
6 Kris Meeke 53
7 Elfyn Evans 53
8 Hayden Paddon 44
9 Ott Tanak 39
10 Dani Sordo 39
11 Martin Prokop 27
12 Khalid Al-Qassimi 9
13 Yuriy Protasov 8
14 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 6
15 Nasser Al-Attiyah 6
16 Robert Kubica 6
17 Sebastien Loeb 6
18 Diego Dominguez 4
18 Paolo Andreucci 4
20 Nicolas Fuchs 2
21 Jan Kopecky 2
21 Gustavo Saba 2
23 Jari Ketomaa 1
24 Federico Villagra 1

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WRC Rally Poland: Sebastien Ogier fends off Andreas Mikkelsen
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