Sebastien Ogier claimed his fifth consecutive WRC title during the penultimate round at Wales Rally GB 2017. Driving for M-Sport in a Ford Fiesta WRC, the Frenchman now ranks second in the all time championship wins behind nine-time winner and countryman Sebastien Loeb. Once again, Ogier won the championship with the help of his longtime co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
For M-Sport, Ogier’s championship win was just part of the big celebrations as they won the team’s title. It was their third title win as a private team, having appeared on the podium in every race this year. They beat bigger manufacturer teams such as Toyota, Hyundai and Citroen. Ultimately, this was their first title win since 2007.
The Wales Rally GB win also went to an M-Sport driver – Elfyn Evans who marked his first WRC win in his home country. Ogier won the opener on Thursday night but it was Evans who dominated the 4 day rally. He won three of six tests on Friday to take the lead and never lost it again. By winning this year’s Wales Rally GB, he became the first Brit to do so since Richard Burns in 2000.
Come Saturday morning, Evans went ahead to win five of six speed tests on slippery and muddy roads. By the end of Saturday, he had a 51s lead over Ogier who opted to take a cautionary strategy on the slippery conditions. The Frenchman knew a win by Evans was enough to deny Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville the points they needed to extended the championship fight to the season finale in Australia.
Neuville finished today’s rally in second place ahead of Ogier. Fourth went to Andreas Mikkelsen in his new Hyundai i20 WRC leading Jari-Matti Latvala who gave Toyota the best finish today. Ott Tanak was sixth ahead of Kris Meeke, Hayden Paddon, Lappi and Dani Sordo.
The season finale heads over to Australia on Nov 16.
Photos: @world, Toyota Gazoo WRC, Hyundai Motorsport