Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier was overjoyed at the finish of Rallye de France-Alsace and unsurprisingly hailed the weekend as the 'most amazing' of his rally career.
Ogier had much to be happy about at the conclusion of the eleventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship, as not only had he secured the WRC Drivers' title on the Power Stage on the Thursday, but he also battled back – and overcame some very difficult conditions – to take the event win in front of his home fans.
It was his seventh victory of the season coming on the back of previous wins in Australia, Finland, Sardinia, Portugal, Mexico and Sweden.
“That is definitely the most amazing rally weekend of my career: first the World Championship title and now victory at my home rally – absolutely fantastic!” Ogier remarked. “What an extremely difficult final day though. This morning was so incredibly slippery, but my gravel crew did a fantastic job. I obviously feel for Sebastien Loeb [who crashed out], but he was going all out to win, and that sort of thing can happen in such difficult conditions. It could have happened to anyone today."
“Today is the highlight of our season, and I am absolutely overjoyed. I would like to thank my guys. We have done a great job all season. I am really proud of what we have achieved,” Ogier added.
Speaking in the post-event press conference, Ogier also admitted that he really didn't think he'd be able to win after a rather lacklustre day on the Friday.
“The title was almost done when I came here. We made the job before with a lot of nice results. I was just missing one point before starting the rally here. With the Power Stage on Day One we secured the title on Thursday. Then, it makes my life very good but, at the same time, difficult because I just wanted to have time to enjoy it,” Ogier explained. “I was flying a little bit and I was not at my best for the beginning of the rally. But finally I managed to react.
“I pushed so hard to come back. I didn't expect that it was possible because the pace was incredible and the level of the four other guys in front was so strong. Then, I came back to the lead. Finally, we did it. It's just an amazing result! I think Jari-Matti [Latvala] and Dani [Sordo] and their co-drivers deserve also a big applause. They were just on a very high level this weekend.”
Asked how he managed to be so quick on the final day, especially given conditions were so horrible, the VW man added: “I don't know. Just by pushing, I think. Yesterday, I also pushed but the conditions were even more tricky this morning and then, when you manage to find the confidence, you make the difference,” he continued. “That's what happened this morning. I didn't have big moments. Let's say it was almost a moment all the time.
“It was just so slippery and the car was just moving in every direction all the time. I was so nervous. At the end, we made a big difference.”
So how special was it to win in France like he did in 2011? “It's always a special event for French drivers, with so many people coming. Of course, many of them came here to see Seb Loeb because he's born here, but still, we got so much support as well. Winning in this condition is just a great feeling.
“I was a little bit disappointed in Australia but finally it was good to get it [the title] here,” Ogier concluded.