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Rally Australia 2015: Ogier and VW world champions for the third time

Rally Australia 2015
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A us the trio has become a quartet. So far, 3 drivers have stood out from the statistics in the illustrious group of rally world champions. Only Sébastien Loeb (9 titles), Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen (4 each) had so far managed to become world champions more than twice. With his third title win in a row, Sébastien Ogier is now one of them.

The defending champion traveled to the other end of the world with 93 points, a second place in the overall ranking and 3rd place in the final Power Stage would have been enough for the French. to be crowned prematurely again. But Ogier decided that there would be a lot less arithmetic in the event of a victory.

Ogier made short work of the final day

Together with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, he kept the distance to the front at a constant level despite a disadvantageous starting position small that nobody could drive away from him. On the final 5 Sunday stages, the French struck and drove away from the competition with 5 best times in a row.

At first one was certain: If there was a rally that Ogier could not win, it would be this one in Australia. The fine gravel in the southern hemisphere is a bigger disadvantage for the first on the track than in all other World Championship races, and according to the rules, Ogier had to start over for 2 days.

But the opponents had no capital beat out of it. Especially on the first stage, the dust plumes of colleagues who started early hung in the air for so long that even start intervals of 5 minutes were too short to give the rest of the field a clear view.

Meeke best VW opponent in 3rd place

Especially Kris Meeke was angry. As seventh in the World Championship, the Citroën driver could have used his poor number of points best to hurry away on the swept runway, but the Northern Irish struggled with the dust wall and did not want to risk making another mistake. After a few slips in the most recent rallies, his career is once again on the brink.

Meeke made no mistakes this time and was only 0.3 seconds behind Ogier before the last stage. But then he had to watch as Ogier and his VW colleagues Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen put him down with a reversed starting order and almost the same weapons. At least the Irishman saved 3rd place because Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Floenebraked themselves on their race to catch up on the podium and received a ten-second penalty for being late at a time control The Norwegians finished fourth.

Another Norwegian had long since been on his way home. Mads Östberg is also fighting for a contract extension, but he had already lost any chance of points before the start. After a collision with a log truck through no fault of his own, Östberg had to do without the start with severe pain in his ribs.

Junior Stéphane Lefebvre moved up to the works team for the first time. The Frenchman had actually only come to Australia to see the routes for the future. Lefebvre struggled on the gravel debut in the World Rally Car. He only crossed the finish line in 13th place, did not collect any points and only got one point for his brand.

Hyundai despite problems with good results

Hyundai benefited from the situation. The Korena team based in Germany got as many points in the brand evaluation as Citroën. With the move to put the Australian experienced youngster Haydon Paddon in the second factory car instead of Dani Sordo, team boss Michel Nandan once again showed a golden hand. The Kiwi was the best placed man in the i20 in fifth. He only had to lose contact with the leaders after half-time in the rally.

The Hyundai suffered from severe tire wear and set-up problems. Still, there would have been more. Dani Sordo initially led the rally with 3 best times, but then fell behind with a problem with the transmission. In the end, only rank 8 remained, because he was not allowed to attack the rather colorless Thierry Neuville on rank 7 despite a narrow gap on the last stage.

In the battle for second place in the branded world championship, Hyundai is with 177 Points by 13 points ahead of Citroën with 164 points. Another 16 points behind the M-Sport-Team is already a bit behind. Australia was not a good place for the Ford men. Ott Tänak was still halfway respectable in sixth, but the Estonian could never keep up with the times of the top.

By his own admission, Elfyn Evans was completely out of the role in the second Fiesta WRC. The Welshman was only ninth. In the end, M-Sport made positive headlines anyway. In honor of the newly crowned world champion Ogier, the British team hoisted a large French flag on one of their overseas containers as a tribute.

In our gallery we have the pictures of the Rally Australia.


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