Sebastien Ogier took the victory in the J-WRC category on the Rallye Deutschland last weekend, the fifth round in the 2008 FIA Junior World Rally Championship.

Ogier was in contention for the win throughout and when fellow Citroen C2 S1600 runner Martin Prokop was sidelined with an alternator failure early on day two he was never really threatened.

Indeed in the end the Frenchman set nine fastest J-WRC times from a possible 16 and took the victory by 3 minutes 34.2 seconds, an impressive feat, especially as this was his first World Rally Championship event on asphalt.

"This win is a huge source of satisfaction for both me and my team," reflected the Equipe de France FFSA backed man. "In the absence of my key rivals [Michal Kosciuszko, Jaan Molder and Patrik Sandell - who didn't nominate this round], it was vital for me to take as many points as possible here in order to claim the advantage in the Junior World Rally Championship.

"The rally went well for us, but I would have preferred to have continued our duel with Martin Prokop all the way to the finish.

"At the start of the rally, I saw straight away that I could more or less match his times, so I chose him as my reference point. Luckily I was then able to find the right pace on these very quick stages and maintain it all the way to the end at the Porta Nigra in Trier. I look forward to Catalunya now, it's a new event for me but I'll have to fight and stay in front of my rivals to win the Championship."

Aaron Burkart meanwhile was best of the rest to give Citroen a one-two - just like Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo did in the 'senior' class with the C4 WRC. The German ran strongly from the off in front of his home fans, but admitted that there was nothing he could do about Ogier.

"I couldn't find the right feeling with the car straight away," Burkart explained. "I also made a couple of mistakes on Saturday that cost me time. But luckily I was able to set some quick times towards the end of the rally, and I'm very happy to take second place now.

"I wasn't very pleased with my fourth place last year, but this is a result that I can be proud of. It is my best result in the JWRC.

"It was a difficult rally though because the expectations were very high as it's my home event. I have scored eight good points for the Championship and now that I still have a chance to win I will for sure fight for it."

Alessandro Bettega was next up and secured the final spot on the podium, albeit another 1.5 minutes or so further back in his Renault Clio.

"It was a good race," said the Italian. "I made two mistakes but luckily without any consequence. We couldn't expect for more - third position overall and the first R3 after an unlucky event in Finland is really good. The team and Renault Sport have done a very good job as the car now is perfect, much more competitive than in the first half of the season."

Further down the order Shaun Gallagher claimed P4 despite a dreadful start to the event as he spun no less than three times on the opening group of stages on day one, costing him almost a minute in total. He also suffered a rear puncture 2 kilometres into SS3. He finally seemed to find his feet on the final day though and finished 25 seconds off third.

Simone Bertoltti and Kevin Abbring came in fifth and sixth respectively in their Renaults, the former enjoying his debut outing in the Clio S1600, rather than his usual R3.

Abbring had a catalogue of problems on days 1 and 2, although his off-road excursion in SS10 was the most costly and he lost 16 minutes before he could rejoin the road and continue.

Of the rest Andrea Cortinovis and Florian Niegel rounded out the points' scorers in seventh and eighth, with Francesco Fanari and Stefano Albertini the only other two classified finishers in the J-WRC in ninth and tenth.

In addition to Prokop, who went out on day 2, Gilles Schammel and Hans Weijs Jr also retired. Schammel was sidelined in SS11 after an off road excursion left him with a broken engine mount - he had been battling for third, while Weijs Jr was forced out on the final day in SS16 with a driveshaft failure.

The Junior World Rally Championship now resumes in October, with the final two events taking place in Catalunya and Corsica.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment