Sebastien Ogier has secured his third WRC Drivers' title in the best way possible by taking victory on Rally Australia, while Volkswagen also took the Manufacturers' again as well.

It was Ogier's seventh win of the season and he now joins an exclusive club of drivers with three or more titles, putting his name up with Sebastien Loeb (nine), Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Makinen (four each) as the only other people to have the lifted the crown three or more times.

"It is an amazing feeling and so far it has been an amazing season - it's the best I've ever done," said Ogier. "We made no big mistakes this weekend and this rally win is very significant. It was the most difficult rally to open the road on. On paper it was impossible to win, but I was determined and so it is so special to get this victory.

"It is a beautiful result and it is the perfect way to secure the title."

Ogier had to wait until the final test on Saturday to take the lead, but kept himself in contention on day's one and two despite his position on the road.

Ogier finished Friday morning down in sixth, 11.8s off the lead, before hauling himself up to third on the repeat runs, 4.6s off top spot.

The Frenchman then remained third on Saturday morning, with Kris Meeke re-taking the lead from Jari-Matti Latvala.

Ogier then upped the ante, however, in the afternoon, winning both tests to edge in front of Meeke by 0.3s.

On the final day, the three-time World Rally Champion was in a class of his own, winning all five tests - including the Power Stage - to eventually take the victory by 12.3s.

Meanwhile, Latvala had to settle for the runners-up spot unable to match Ogier's pace on the final day.

"I'm happy to have been so consistent and to have made no mistakes," said Latvala, who actually had a bit of scare in the penultimate test, having to stop after it to replace an alternator belt. "Maybe on Friday and Saturday morning I was missing a little spark to fight for the victory. It wasn't enough. Seb has done an amazing job.

"He has been better than me."

Meeke took the final podium position in his Citroen DS 3 WRC, 20.3s further back, and 5.9s up on VW Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen.

"I've enjoyed my weekend. It's been good to find the rhythm over a whole weekend. Everybody knows there have been a few mistakes creeping in recently, so I'm very happy and it is nice now to put them behind us," said the Ulsterman, who led from SS4-SS7 and from SS9-SS11.

"We did have a road position advantage on Friday and Saturday and so it would have been nice to sneak a win. But the Volkswagens were just too strong - hats off to them."

Mikkelsen was also happy with his performance, although a 10-sec penalty on the final day - for checking into service G 1 minute late - did prove costly.

"I have to say I am really happy with my performance - it is one of the best performances we have ever done," Mikkelsen continued. "But fourth place of course isn't exactly what we came for."

Hayden Paddon was next up in fifth for Hyundai, shining on Saturday morning with two stage wins in Nambucca 1 and Valla 1 that put him right back in the fight, before he then slipped back.

"It has been a good weekend although we didn't get the podium result we wanted. VW were the pace setters and we couldn't quite keep up. It's okay though and there are some exciting times ahead. We have lots of reasons to celebrate tonight with the Kiwis and the team," said Paddon.

Behind M-Sport's Ott Tanak took sixth, with the other Hyundai's of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, the latter leading early on after winning the first three stages, in seventh and eighth - split by 6.9s, although they were under instructions not to fight on the final day.

Welshman Elfyn Evans was a distant ninth - more than 2.5 minutes back - with WRC2 event winner Nasser Al-Attiyah rounding out the top ten.

Al-Attiyah led the WRC2 category throughout and while he lost time on Saturday morning with a misfire and gearbox problems, he held on, beating Yuriy Protasov by 13.5s. Protasov had looked a bit of a threat on the final day, but a 10s penalty in SS15 for jumping the start put pay to his hopes. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari was third in WRC2, more than two minutes further back.

As for retirements, Citroen stand-in Stephane Lefebvre went out on Friday after hitting a rock in the final test and breaking the front right wishbone on his DS 3 WRC. He re-started on Saturday, however, and was classified 13th on his competitive gravel event with the car.

Ford privateer Lorenzo Bertelli also finished under Rally 2 after retiring on Saturday with engine issues. He did stop in the final stage, but eventually completed it and was 18th.

The World Rally Championship now heads back to Europe for round 11, with Rallye de France-Tour de Corse running from October 1-4.

To view the result for Rally Australia 2015 - CLICK HERE.

 

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