Sébastien Ogier has secured the 2013 FIA WRC drivers’ title after Dani Sordo went fastest through tonight’s opening stage of Rallye de France – Alsace.
The 4.55km test through the streets of Strasbourg was always likely to prove decisive because as the nominated Power Stage it offered three bonus points to the winner.
Thierry Neuville, the only man with a chance of catching Ogier’s championship lead, needed all three points to stay in the fight. So when his time was confirmed as 0.7sec slower than Sordo’s, Ogier was home and dry, no matter what happens on this or the two rallies that remain this year.
“I’m so happy!” said a delighted Ogier at the finish control. “Before the stage I was a bit confused about whether it would happen, but we’re here and we managed to do it!”
“Eight years we’ve worked for this!” added his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
|Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, 2013 WRC world champions. (Photo: Volkswagen Motorsport)|
The pair climbed onto the roof of their Polo R in celebration, cheered on by crowds of fans and Volkswagen management including rally team boss Jost Capito. Outgoing world champion Sebastien Loeb, who followed Ogier through the stage, was quick to offer his own congratulations.
Citroen DS3 WRC driver Sordo now leads the rally from Neuville, with Ogier third, 0.1sec further back. It was another great performance from Sordo, who won the last all-asphalt round in Germany and who was fastest on this morning’s shakedown.