23 August 2015
WRC Rallye Deutschland: Ogier closes on title, matches Gronholm
Emotional German win puts Sebastien Ogier on brink of securing third WRC Drivers' title – and level with Marcus Gronholm in the all-time wins list
Sebastien Ogier stands on the verge of securing his third successive WRC Drivers' title following his victory on Rallye Deutschland.
It was his sixth win of the season and the 30th of his career, putting him level with Marcus Gronholm in second place in the all-time wins list.
Ogier finished 23 seconds up on team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, while Andreas Mikkelsen was third to give Volkswagen a clean sweep of the podium and bring to an end VW's home jinx.
“After all the trouble happening here, it is finally really nice to see all of us on the podium,” said Ogier. “We all feel just fantastic and it is really great for Volkswagen.
"They offer us so much, this fantastic car, fantastic team owners. You speak about the 30th victory, it is like 23 or so with the Polo in the last three years, or two and a half, which is really amazing.
“Speaking about this week, the rally was really incredible for me. I had a really good feeling in the car, I had great fun. It was nice to do Rallye Deutschland in dry conditions - that doesn't happen so often here, but I think that made the rally even better. Every crew enjoyed this rally.”
Ogier led for all but two of the 21 asphalt tests, but it wasn't until Saturday that he really pulled ahead of Latvala, with two brilliant times through Panzerplatte Long.
“Panzerplatte is always a big key of Rallye Deutschland. Most of the time differences there are big. We managed to increase a lot of our gap there and, after that, the end of the rally was more relaxed,” Ogier added.
“But for some time now, Jari-Matti and Miikka [Anttila – his co-driver] have proved that they are really fast on tarmac. For me, there was a bit of time that I was not in a condition to really push on tarmac. The last time that I really tried was last year here, and I crashed two times, so I knew that I had to prepare for this one a little bit differently.
“I think I told you before the start that I was really motivated to win, to correct the mistake from the past. I had a good feeling. It was inside me, I knew it was going to be good. The test was very successful and the Polo was very nice to drive. But a good feeling is not always giving you the best results.
“The best result I could get was victory here. Of course, rally drivers and other competitors are egoistic, we think a lot about ourselves and our interests, but this week, this victory, I really wanted to get it for my team after everything they gave me. We promised it to our big boss at the end of last year [that we would win here] and we kept our promise today, so that is great.”
Ogier can now take the title in Australia next month, providing he finishes ahead of Latvala: “It has become more and more realistic now. I didn't calculate exactly, but now I have a real chance to get it. I have the cards in my hand to secure it in Australia, and why not?” he continued.
“It is a rally I really love. I love the atmosphere there, it is something very different. We are feeling more intimate, all together, because there are less people coming.
"I like the special atmosphere, the roads are also very nice, but first, let's enjoy this one, celebrate this one, and then let's go for Australia.”
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