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Ogier wins sixth successive World Rally Championship crown

Sebastien Ogier, right, and Julien Ingrassia

Bengaluru, November 19: M-Sport Ford World Rally Team's Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia secured their sixth FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for Drivers and Co-drivers after coming out on top after a dramatic final-day showdown at Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

This year's championship has been the most exciting in years, but Ogier, Ingrassia and M-Sport Ford produced something special once again - speed, determination and outstanding team spirit all contributing to another very successful year for the Cumbrian squad.

Ogier and Ingrassia headed into the final day of competition knowing that six was the magic number - a sixth place finish all they needed to claim a sixth successive FIA WRC crown.

Doing what they needed to do in a sensational fight that went down to the wire, the pressure was on Ogier's rivals and, one by one, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak hit trouble - each caught out whilst refusing to give up the fight and pushing admirably through the treacherous conditions.

Muddy mess

Muddy mess

Ogier's calmness shone through after heavy rain transformed the gravel forest roads into a muddy mess.

He was faultless while both Neuville and overnight leader Tanak escaped brushes with the scenery during the morning's opening three speed tests.

Composed drive

Composed drive

Ogier could afford a celebratory drive through the final Power Stage in the knowledge the championship was already secured in his final appearance in M-Sport's Ford Fiesta before switching to Citroen in 2019.

A composed drive to fifth at Kennards Hire Rally Australia was in marked contrast to the heartbreak suffered by Neuville and Tanak, who both crashed whilst trying to keep their hopes alive.

Incredible season

Incredible season

"It's been an incredible season, so close. Not so long ago we were thinking it was going to be tough to grab this title but we never gave up," said Ogier.

We gave everything, with a fantastic team behind us who kept fighting and in the end we grabbed it in the last rally. It's so emotional," the Frenchman added.

Beautiful journey

Beautiful journey

Ingrassia shared Ogier's views.

"We had a beautiful journey with M-Sport over these two years, and everything we achieved we achieved together. We wanted to end our time with Malcolm and the team in a special way, and that is what we did.

There have been a lot of ups and downs during the season and the rally, and we gave it everything to achieve this amazing result!"

That meant only one thing, Ogier and Ingrassia had done it - defending the crown they secured with the Ford Fiesta WRC 12 months previous. The result was the perfect way for the team to say farewell to their champions after two very special years together.

(With inputs from M-Sport/WRC/Red Bull)

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    Story first published: Monday, November 19, 2018, 12:55 [IST]
    Other articles published on Nov 19, 2018
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