Sebastien Ogier admits that it will be 'harder to stay at the top' after bringing the curtain down on his title-winning WRC campaign with victory on the season finale in Wales.
The Frenchman went into the weekend having never scored in the Welsh forest before but was able to control proceedings from the front to secure his ninth victory of the campaign.
Moving onto 16 career WRC wins as a result, Ogier has now won more events than any other driver still active in the series following the retirement of nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb earlier in the year.
“It's a good feeling of course,” he told Crash.net
in the Deeside Service Park following the closing ceremony. “I am racing for as many wins and as many titles as possible, so to get nine this season and a first title is something I am very pleased with.
“I have seen in the past that Wales Rally GB isn't an easy event, but I was able to get into the lead early on and then it was a case of keeping it on the road and controlling the gap. Jari-Matti was always pushing hard and this event is almost like his second home, so it wasn't easy to keep him behind. I'm glad that we managed it.”
Ogier's maiden title – secured on home soil in France – was followed by Volkswagen wrapping up the manfacturers' title in Spain, with the 29-year-old admitting that his season had exceeded all expectations.
“Of course I hoped that we would be strong this season, but it was a surprise to get so many wins in the first year with a new car,” he said. “I have to pay thanks to the team for that, because they did a fantastic job in their first year at this level.
“It has been hard to reach the top, but now it will be harder to stay there. The competition is going to be tough, and we have new contenders coming in with Hyundai, which I am pleased about as it is good for the championship. I enjoy the fight with the other drivers, and I'm sure there will be some good battles next year.”