B ei 112 points still to be awarded in the remaining 4 rallies By the end of the season, the seventh-placed Mads Östberg would theoretically have had a chance for the title in the M-Sport Ford, but in truth, since the second round in Sweden, it's all about when the current world champion will secure the fourth title in a row.
After his third win of the season in Trier, Ogier took good note of the cancellation of the Rally China: “More time with the family,” he said happily and relaxed ß not mentioned that one less run also reduces the chances of his few challengers to catch up with him.
Ogier sets an example in the first test
The World Cup runner-up traveled 58 points behind Andreas Mikkelsen to Corsica. Even two total failures and full points for the Norwegian would not have been enough to overtake his teammate. The situation was even more difficult for the two-point Hyundai men Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon: With 94 points they were 73 points behind Ogier.
The Frenchman immediately showed how gray all theory can be at the home game in Corsica on the first stage in Albitreccia, where he outclassed the entire field apart from the halfway competitive Hyundai drivers Neuville and Dani Sordo and guest starter Kris Meeke in the Citroën.
Admittedly, that opening stage was 50 kilometers long, but 18 seconds for Jari-Matti Latvala in the second factory VW and 20 for Mikkelsen were real smack. The Finn struggled with his notes and his braking points, he didn't really get going until the end and came in fourth. Mikkelsen at least had an excuse: 'Because of vibrations in the accelerator pedal, my foot fell asleep on the long test,' reported the youngster, who successfully tackled the problem in the afternoon with three socks and new shoes.
Kris Meeke is extremely fast again
But on the first evening Ogier was leading with 44 seconds ahead of Thierry Neuville, Mikkelsen was almost a minute behind. It was a clear demonstration of power by the champion who, due to the lack of staff at the organizer, had few but long tests with tires and brakes and, according to his own statement, had not driven to the limit.
Despite this, Neuville was the challenger Backlog happy. With his team-mate Sordo, he had one of the strongest asphalt drivers in the world under control and his i20 obeyed himon word: “The car has never felt so good,” praised the Belgian. His colleague Sordo, on the other hand, lost two minutes after a puncture on the first afternoon and thus the connection. The Spaniard finished seventh behind team-mate Paddon, who approached the “Rally of Ten Thousand Bends” with respect.
If anyone could have stopped Ogier, it was Kris Meeke with the tailwind of two victories this season and successful test work in the 17 series Citroën. But the Irishman also suffered a puncture, only found a place to change after a few more kilometers on the narrow piste and lost around 2 minutes.
Meeke then drove a few fabulous times without pressure, but built himself up while chasing back Saturday off a bike on DS3. The rally ended in 16th place. Another recommendation for team principal Yves Matton was Meeke's compatriot Craig Breen in the second DS3, who frankly admitted after 5th place: 'I don't know myself how I made it to the top so quickly.'
The 3 Ford drivers looked rather backwards, one or the other of whom had to be duped by teammate Elfyn Evans, only that the Welshman in his storm to the next WRC2 victory in a 50 hp weaker Fiesta R5 sat. Only Malcolm Wilson's youngest protégé, Eric Camilli, gained momentum after a cautious start and was at least eighth.
The actual team leader Östberg, a shadow of himself, landed behind him in ninth place - more than five and a half minutes behind Winner. The rally for Ott Tänak in the third Fiesta was already forgotten in the first few kilometers. The DMack tires on the Estonian car were hopelessly inferior on the Corsican asphalt. Tänak bit his tongue in order not to criticize his main sponsor and only stated: 'I have to get the weekend over with somehow.'
Ogier manages the lead until victory
Sébastien Ogier on the other hand, he enjoyed the approximately 4,800 corners on Corsica to the full, managed his lead in a relaxed manner down to the second and captured his 36th World Championship victory with co-driver Julien Ingrassia. For VW it was also a special weekend for other reasons: the team celebrated their 40th victory in the Polo WRC and team manager Sven Smeets his first success as sports director: 'I couldn't have wished for a better debut.'
In the event of a total bankruptcy for Mikkelsen, Sébastien Ogier would have been able to celebrate his title defense at the eleventh round of the World Championship .-16.October) already a third place and a third place in the final power stage, in order to crown itself again on its own.
In theory, VW could be 66 points ahead of Hyundai after the sixth win of the season in Catalonia already the brand namegrab when the Hanoverians get 20 points more than the Hyundai duo Sordo and Neuville. In this case, the Volkswagen squad would have two more reasons to celebrate: It will be the 50th works outing of the Polo WRC.