WRC Rally GB: Volkswagen's Ogier takes sombre win to finish season

Sebastien Ogier ended the 2015 World Rally Championship season with a third straight Rally GB victory, as Kris Meeke took the best home result for a Briton in 15 years

WRC Rally GB: Volkswagen's Ogier takes sombre win to finish season

Ogier, who had long since wrapped up a third consecutive WRC title, was in an understandably sombre mood as he clinched his eighth rally win of the year in the wake of Friday night's terrorist attacks in his native France. He confined his celebrations to unfurling a French flag across his windscreen.

His run to victory was largely straightforward once Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala had crashed out of second on only the second stage of the rally.

The record books will show Ogier leading throughout, but he temporarily lost first place on Saturday when he had to slow because Thierry Neuville's crashed Hyundai was blocking the road.

The half-minute he lost was quickly restored by the officials, and Ogier was free to cruise to the finish thereafter, winning by 26 seconds.

While Meeke kept Ogier on his toes, he was always adamant the champion was realistically out of reach.

Instead he resisted weekend-long pressure from the other VW of Andreas Mikkelsen to secure second place - the first podium for a Briton on GB since Richard Burns sealed the 2001 title with third, and the best home result since Burns's '00 win.

Mikkelsen showed no ill-effects from the undisclosed medical situation that caused him to miss shakedown and made sure Meeke could never feel too secure. The Norwegian edged closer through Sunday morning before finishing 10.2s down.

Meeke's podium helped Citroen - which has yet to decide its 2016 driver line-up - resist Hyundai for second in the manufacturers' championship, even though Mads Ostberg dropped back from fourth with a Saturday accident.

Hyundai's Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon took fourth and fifth despite a few technical glitches and incidents.

For Paddon that included a head-on collision on a Saturday road section that ended Martin Prokop's day, though Paddon continued largely unscathed and resisted local hero Elfyn Evans for fifth while closing on Sordo too.

Hyundai lost its other cars early: a wheel sheared from Neuville's i20 on Friday then he crashed heavily after restarting on Saturday, while Kevin Abbring dropped out with a water leak.

M-Sport, another team whose drivers were fighting for their futures, had to settle for just the puncture-delayed Evans's sixth place at home.

Ott Tanak was holding off Sordo for fourth until crashing on the final morning.

Ostberg's error left him a distant seventh ahead of Citroen's young driver Stephane Lefebvre.

Robert Kubica ended a tough season with only his third points finish of the year, recovering from a puncture and differential problem to take ninth.

Prior to those dramas, he had been running just ahead of Tanak in eighth.

Lorenzo Bertelli completed the top 10.

Having crashed on Friday's second stage, Latvala returned only to have a transmission problem on Saturday's second stage, then came back again on Sunday and went fastest on every remaining stage.

FINAL RESULTS:

-

LEADING POWERSTAGE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 6m50.3s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen, O.Floene Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 2.4s
3 Robert Kubica, M.Szczepaniak RK World Rally Team Ford 5.9s
4 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 8.4s
5 Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 8.7s
6 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 9.6s

FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 263
2 Jari-Matti Latvala 183
3 Andreas Mikkelsen 171
4 Mads Ostberg 116
5 Kris Meeke 112
6 Thierry Neuville 90
7 Elfyn Evans 89
8 Dani Sordo 89
9 Hayden Paddon 84
10 Ott Tanak 62
11 Martin Prokop 39
12 Robert Kubica 11
13 Khalid Al-Qassimi 9
14 Juho Hanninen 8
15 Yuriy Protasov 8
16 Nasser Al-Attiyah 7
17 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 6
18 Sebastien Loeb 6
19 Stephane Lefebvre 5
20 Esapekka Lappi 4
21 Bryan Bouffier 4
21 Diego Dominguez 4
21 Paolo Andreucci 4
24 Pontus Tidemand 4
25 Jan Kopecky 3
26 Nicolas Fuchs 2
27 Gustavo Saba 2
27 Stephane Sarrazin 2
29 Lorenzo Bertelli 2
30 Jari Ketomaa 1
31 Federico Villagra 1


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WRC Rally GB: Ogier closing on victory, Mikkelsen chasing Meeke
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