Sebastien Ogier insists he has “no regrets” after spinning away his chance of winning Volkswagen's final WRC event in Australia.
Despite being first on the road on Friday and Saturday, Ogier had kept himself right in contention and went into the final day just 2secs behind team-mate and eventual winner, Andreas Mikkelsen.
However, in the long 31.90km Bucca test, the Frenchman made a rare error, losing around 15-20secs. He eventually finished 14.9secs adrift, claiming his eighth stage win of the event in the Power Stage.
“I was a bit wide exiting a left-hander at the end of the 'Wedding Bells' stage, and spun,” Ogier recalled. “In the huge dust cloud, it took me a few moments to work out where the road was. We lost almost 20 seconds as a result.
“However, I have no regrets. Julien [Ingrassia] and I were really going for it all weekend, and had had a great battle with Andreas up to that point. He deserved the win.
“The most important thing is that our fantastic team bids farewell to the World Rally Championship with a victory.”
Ogier also pointed out that it was only his second spin of the season, one in which he has again dominated, taking his fourth Drivers' title.
“I think first I will say I am happy [with the event],” he replied when quizzed further on what happened in SS20. “OK not completely happy. We had the last day of our career with this team and it was with a big fight and that helped us go through all this emotion. For me and Julien, we were close to a pretty unique performance to win by opening the road. That would have been amazing, but we failed today.
“We had two great days on Friday and Saturday and to be only two seconds behind Andreas and Anders [Jaeger] was really great. The plan was to try to catch them. I knew it would not be easy, I knew they would fight, and we were at pretty much the same speed when I did my mistake.
“It was only the second spin of the year – I cannot complain much for that. Two spins in the season? I would sign for the same in the future.
“There was a bit of frustration when we did that, but I am still proud of what we have done this year and this week with Julien.”
As for having done his final rally with VW and the Polo R WRC, Ogier admitted it was a “very emotional moment” for him.
“I have so much to thank the team for,” he continued. “Volkswagen Motorsport has been like a family to Julien and me. I have made a lot of friends and will never forget the wonderful moments we have had together over the past few years. A fantastic journey is coming to an end.
“I am proud to have been a part of it.”