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Ogier claims French honours, Loeb DNF reignites title fight

Citroen's Sebastien Ogier wins on home turf after a close fight with Dani Sordo in the MINI WRT John Cooper Works WRC car.
STOP PRESS: Petter Solberg was excluded after the event when his car was found to be underweight [see separate story - CLICK HERE].


Citroen's Sebastien Ogier has won Rallye de France - and with Sebastien Loeb retiring on the first day in the sister works DS3 WRC, the championship race is now well and truly on.

The eleventh round in the 2011 World Rally Championship produced a thrilling event and Loeb, the pre-event favourite, was taken out of the equation early on, with engine problems forcing him out in only the third stage. That left Ogier to take the early initiative and he finished the first loop on Friday five seconds up on Petter Solberg. However on the afternoon loop, Solberg and Dani Sordo both fought back, the latter ending the first day top - a historic first for the new MINI WRT team.

Day two was just as close and the three-way fight continued until SS11, when Petter picked up a slow puncture and lost over 40 seconds. That left Sordo and Ogier out front and following SS12 the former held P1 by just 0.2 seconds.

Ogier put in a charge though after that, winning four of the five tests on the Saturday afternoon to build a 9.5 second lead.

Although the Frenchman saw his cushion almost halved mid-way through the final leg, he pulled away again in SS21 and SS22 and following the final test, he beat Sordo by 6.3 seconds.

The 25 points for the win - and 1 for being third in the Power Stage - now leave Ogier just three points off Loeb and Ford's Mikko Hirvonen in the drivers' championship.

“I am very happy,” said Ogier after winning in front of his home fans. “This result is a very good thing for the championship. After Sebastien [Loeb]'s problem I had to face a lot of pressure as I was the only one left in the rally [for our team]. It was very difficult especially with Sordo, who was flat out on this surface and deserves our warmest congratulations. It's been a good weekend though and we got good points.”

Hirvonen was less happy with his weekend and had a number of escapes throughout the three-days. However while he was well and truly beaten by his team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, he still finished in front, as Jari-Matti again played the team game and deliberately picked up a two minute penalty prior to the final test.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Podium, Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team
Podium, Sebastien Ogier (F) Julien Ingrassia (F) Citroen DS3 WRC, Citroen Total World Rally Team

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Mrploppy - Unregistered

October 02, 2011 10:10 PM

Although its exiting to have 3 drivers fighting for the title i feel that if hirvonen wins it will be rather hollow as all season long hes been slow & inconsistant and the only reason hes in contention is because of jm latvala who is twice the driver hes is. So i would like to see ogier win as he has single handedly made the wrc exiting this year!!!



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