Sebastien Ogier took his third win of the season today on Rally de Portugal and in the process increased his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 29 points, but he remains wary and insists the 'opposition is not sleeping'.
Ogier eventually brought his Volkswagen Polo R WRC to the finish more than 40 seconds up on M-Sport man, Mikko Hirvonen, and while the Finn did keep him honest for the first day and a half, the Frenchman romped away on Saturday afternoon.
In the end Ogier took eight stage wins from 16 and helped VW pass the 200 stage win marker on Saturday, when he was fastest in SS11.
It was VW's eighth WRC event win in succession, equally the record set by Citroen in 2011.
“Four wins in five years [here]. It is no exaggeration: the Rally Portugal is one of my very favourites!” Ogier stated after round four in the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.
“The whole week has been fantastic for Julien [Ingrassia] and me. First the fantastic show in front of more than 100,000 fans at the 'Fafe Rally Sprint' [which we won], and now the icing on the cake with our title defence at the Rally Portugal on the Algarve. The encouragement and support of the fans is rather special here.”
Asked about the final day, Ogier added: “We only took as many risks as we needed on the soft tyres. Despite this, though, our goal was obviously to pick up the three points on the Power Stage, although Jari-Matti [Latvala – my team-mate] did not make it easy for me.”
“The lead in the World Championship is now a bit larger, but the opposition is not sleeping – Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg showed that,” he continued.
“I heard that Markku Alén is the uncrowned king with five wins in Portugal. We can achieve that too next year.
“That is our goal.”