Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia did not make any mistakes in the Sunday morning sprint on the final day of Rally France Alsace, and gave the Citroën Total World Rally Team its ninth victory in the eleven rallies run so far this season.
“I’m really happy with the outcome of this race,” Ogier told the WRC website. “I did exactly what I had to do by looking at Dani and the split times. I took the lead but I did not take the risk.”
“It was difficult at the end because there was a lot of pressure after the problem for Seb (Loeb). It’s very important for the championship but now I must do two good rallies.”
Mikko Hirvonen of Finland finished third to join defending champion Sebastien Loeb at the top of the standings.
Loeb retired on Friday after his Citroen had an engine failure and did not score any points in his native Alsace region.
The unexpected breakdown means that Loeb’s championship lead has been dramatically trimmed to three points with just two rounds to go.
“It’s great for the championship,” said Sébastien Ogier, the winner of his home rally for the first time. “Now I have to make sure that I drive the last two rallies properly. But anything can happen. Hopefully not to us though… ”
Loeb now has 196 points, with Ogier and Hirvonen both on 193 – although Ogier is ranked higher in the classification by virtue of his greater number of wins.
1. Sebastien Ogier, France, Citroen, 3 hours, 6 minutes, 20.4 seconds.
2. Daniel Sordo, Spain, Mini, 6.3 seconds behind.
3. Mikko Hirvonen, Finland, Ford, 3:26.6.
4. Jari-Matti Latvala, Finland, Ford, 3:30.3.
5. Dennis Kuipers, Netherlands, Ford, 6:42.0.
6. Henning Solberg, Norway, Ford, 7:08.3.
7. Mads Ostberg, Norway, Ford, 7:58.3.
8. Ken Block, United States, Ford, 8:25.5.
9. Pierre Campana, France, Mini, 8:38.7.
10. Matthew Wilson, Britain, Ford, 10:00.8.
1. Sebastien Loeb, France, Ford, 196 points.
2. Sebastien Ogier, France, Citroen, 193.
3. Mikko Hirvonen, Finland, Ford, 193.
4. Jari-Matti Latvala, Finland, Ford, 129.
5. Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroen, 125.
6. Mads Ostberg, Norway, Ford, 60.
7. Matthew Wilson, Britain, Ford, 52.
8. Daniel Sordo, Spain, Mini, 43.
9. Henning Solberg, Norway, Ford, 38.
10. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Citroen, 34.