Volkswagen driver Sebastien Ogier has been forced to withdraw from this weekend's Fafe Rally Sprint on medical grounds after contracting 'flu.

The Frenchman, who currently leads the WRC standings, had intended to part in the now legendary event with co-driver Julien Ingrassia as part of their preparation for the forthcoming Portuguese round of the championship, but has heeded expert advice and opted to sit it out.

"Unfortunately, I have been laid low by an influenza infection, leading my doctor to insist that I withdraw," Ogier lamented, "I would really have liked to participate in this unique event, but my World Rally Championship commitments must take precedence. I hope the fans understand that."

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Although Ogier will be absent, however, one Volkswagen Polo R WRC will take the start in Fafe, with Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Mikko Markkula in the cockpit. The Scandinavian duo are expected to perform in front of the estimated 100,000 spectators who are expected to pack the 6.34km course, where crews will not only target outright victory, but also a new world record on one of the most spectacular jumps in rallying. The current record, set in 2000 by Armin Schwarz at the wheel of a Skoda Octavia WRC, stands at stands at 73.5 metres.