Sebastien Ogier scooped his eighth win of the season and headed team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala
on Rally de Espana today, as Volkswagen secured the Manufacturers' title with one round to go.
Ogier, who secured the 2013 WRC Drivers' title last time out in France, began the event, the penultimate round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Champiosnhip, strongly by winning the three night stages on Friday. That gave him an early 8.8 second advantage heading into day two.
Saturday morning however, didn't go to plan, and he picked up a puncture in the final test of the loop, SS6, something that cost him over 50 seconds and dropped him back to sixth. The Frenchman fought back though, and on the repeat loop in the afternoon hauled himself back up to fourth.
Starting today he then continued to charge and with the action shifting from tarmac to gravel, made the most of his better road position to haul in overnight leader, Latvala and Citroen's Dani Sordo, jumping the latter in SS13 and then getting ahead of the former and into P1 in penultimate test.
In the end Ogier won by 32.9 seconds, taking eight stages wins from a possible 15, including four on the final day. The 1-2 result – VW's first of the season – was more than enough to give the team the Manufacturers' crown, much to Ogier's delight.
“I am very happy to celebrate the Manufacturers' title with a 1-2. On the second loop it was easier because there was no dust and there was a clean good line. I had to push until the end though and I had to preserve the tyres in the second half of the final long stage,” said the Frenchman at the finish.
Latvala meanwhile was disappointed not to win, although he was fortune to finish, given he suffered a small fire in the engine bay of his Polo R WRC after completing the penultimate test.
“I am a bit frustrated to end up second due to technical problems that prevented me from fighting until the end, but the positive point of today is the Championship title for VW. I will celebrate it tonight,” said the Finn.
Mikko Hirvonen took the final spot on the podium for Citroen, inheriting the position after his team-mate, Dani Sordo went off in SS14 and damaged the suspension on his DS3 WRC: “To finish on the podium is not such a bad result, but I'm very disappointed for Dani. He should have finished on the podium instead of me, as it was very important for him, being his home rally,” said Hirvonen.