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Sebastien Ogier is a six-time WRC champ
Lots of drama Down Under secures Sebastien Ogier his sixth straight WRC title
Sebastien Ogier is the new WRC world champion. Well, not new. As he was the reigning champ. And won it the year before that. And the year before that. In fact, it’s his sixth WRC title in a row. So, perhaps we can all agree, the boy’s got skills.
Now, Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala may have won Rally Australia, but that wasn’t enough to secure the headlines. Dramatic crashes from both Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford’s Sebastien Ogier who was caught in a three-way battle.
Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was forced to have an early bath having crashed out of the World Rally Championship drivers’ title – still going for his first WRC crown – following a terminal shunt having nerfed a bank and tree on the first stage of the final loop. He retired due to a distinct lack of left-rear wheel.
Ogier’s other rival, Toyota’s Ott Tanak, soon followed being caught out by Australia’s slippery conditions and his Yaris picking a fight with a tree. The tree won, damaging the Toyota’s transmission.
It was a big blow. Tanak went into the penultimate stage of the season in a position to win. Running behind teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, they could have done the ol’ switcheroo and swapped drivers during the Power Stage, which would have helped Tanak snatch the title. But he crashed out, handing the win and sixth championship to Ogier, ending the 2018 season with an 18-point lead over Hyundai’s Neuville.
“I’ve never seen a driver do what he’s done this season. Honestly, he has opened my eyes to what real, true and total determination really means,” M-Sport’s Malcolm Wilson said. “He’s been magnificent. Throughout this year – and especially the way he’s responded in the second half – he has driven the drive of the true champion he really is.”
Having sealed a second World Rally Championship with Ford in a row, will he be able to keep it up when he moves to Citroen next year? We’ll have to wait and see.