Rally Sweden winner Sebastien Ogier says he had to take 'the greatest risk of career' to claim victory in the tricky conditions to fight off Hayden Paddon and leaves Scandinavia with his perfect record intact.
The three-time WRC champion has continued the flawless defence of his title at Rally Sweden by winning the event for the second consecutive year by nearly half a minute from Hyundai's Hayden Paddon, while he also bagged three bonus points with victory on Sunday's Power stage.
The result sees the Volkswagen Motorsport driver take maximum points from the opening two WRC rounds having also won Rallye Monte Carlo and its Power stage last month.
However, Ogier's success was far from straightforward, with the French star asking for the event to be cancelled on Wednesday after warm temperatures melted large amounts of ice and snow on road sections which consequently caused the cancellation of nine stages.
After a couple of hairy moments during the opening stages Ogier saw his lead slashed to just 8.8 seconds by Paddon at the halfway point on Saturday and had to produce a masterclass of ice driving to inch out his lead before taking victory in a dominate fashion by winning the Power stage.
“Winning in Sweden again is an incredible feeling,” Ogier said. “I just love this rally. The conditions were far from ideal at the start of the week after the thawing and all the rain, which makes it all the more pleasing that we eventually had a really good, wintery Rally Sweden.”
Reflecting on his battle against Paddon on Saturday afternoon Ogier says he took some huge gambles on the treacherous tracks in order to take back the momentum and is thrilled by his 34th career WRC rally win.
“Yesterday [Saturday], we probably had to take the greatest risk of our career in order to win,” he said. “It paid off, and I am just really happy.”
Ogier moves on to 56 WRC points and is already 23 points clear of his closest rival Andreas Mikkelsen in the WRC drivers' championship.
Watch highlights from the final day of the 2016 Rally Sweden