VW Claims Fourth WRC Title in a Row
There may still be two rounds of the World Rally Championship left to go, but the Volkswagen works duo of Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have already claimed overall victory in the 2016 season. The pair guided their Polo R WRC to the win at Rally Spain, the season’s only mixed surface event, earlier in October – their fifth rally win of 2016. They finished ahead of the Hyundais of Dani Sordo/Marc Marti, and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul by 15.6 seconds and 1 minute 15 seconds respectively.
Taking the top spot in Spain was the French pair’s eleventh podium of the season and puts them out of reach of their nearest rivals and team mates, Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger. The second Volkswagen pair were sadly forced to retire after making contact with a barrier in slippery conditions, putting paid to any chances they had left.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Volkswagen as Sordo led the event in his Hyundai i20 during the stages that took place on the Catalonian mud. However, when the action switched to tarmac Oiger came into his own and managed to pull out the slim 15.6 second gap that sealed the victory.
In winning, Sébastien Oiger claims his fourth WRC season win having now spent 952 days at the top of the table. He is only the third driver to achieve this feat, following in the footsteps of Juha Kankkunen, Tommi Mäkinen and Sébastien Loeb.
After the rally Oiger said; “I feel fantastic! The fourth world championship title for Julien and me, it is impossible to describe how this feels. It is an honour to be mentioned in the same breath as such big names as Kankkunen and Mäkinen. I would like to say a huge thank you to our team at Volkswagen. Without them, Julien and I would not be here today. They do a fantastic job all year and we have had a perfect car all season. I had great fun at the wheel of the Polo R WRC once again this weekend.”
With Rally GB starting tomorrow (27th October) VW is now aiming to seal the manufacturers’ title. They begin the penultimate rally with a 62-point lead in the championship. As such, the team has a great chance of winning the title for the fourth time in a row, regardless of other results as VW only requires a lead of 43 points into the Rally Australia to claim victory.
Standings after 11 Rounds of the World Rally Championship
|1.||Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (VW)||222 points|
|2.||Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger (VW)||127 points|
|3.||Thierry Neuville/ Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai)||127 points|
|1.||Volkswagen Motorsport||322 points|
|2.||Hyundai Motorsport||260 points|
|3.||M-Sport (Ford)||144 points|