Ogier wins the Rally of France

Sebastien Ogier won the 2013 World Rally Championship title in the best possible way; with a home victory on the Rally of France achieving his seventh win of the season despite languishing in fifth place, half a minute behind a fierce fight for the lead on Friday.

In the early stages both Ogier and retiring arch-rival Sebastien Loeb were overshadowed by Dani Sordo, Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville battling in the top three but Ogier soon raised his game and charged back into the lead fight.

Neuville and his flying M-Sport Ford looked like he might be out of Ogier's reach as he pulled away in the lead towards half-distance but ran wide and damaged a tyre on Saturday afternoon, costing him over a minute which left Sordo, Latvala, Loeb and Ogier in a close lead fight starting the final day. It didn't last long though, Loeb crashing out of his WRC swansong on Sunday morning's first stage, where a blistering time from Ogier thrust him into the lead.

Ogier did not look back after that, winning by 12 seconds from Sordo's Citroen. Latvala fell away in the final morning's muddy conditions and settled for third, with Neuville a distant fourth. Evgeny Novikov claimed fifth place, followed by an off-form Mikko Hirvonen, the later pair having joined Andreas Mikkelsen and Mads Ostberg in a battle for the lower points positions. Ostberg ended up at the back of this pack following brake issues on Sunday.

Robert Kubica dominated WRC 2 and finished ninth overall, ahead of 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Romain Dumas, who was driving a WRC Ford on his home event.

Leading finishers:

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Sebastien Ogier VW 2h53m07.6s
2. Dani Sordo Citroen +12.2s
3. Jari-Matti Latvala VW +19.5s
4. Thierry Neuville M-Sport Ford +1m14.1s
5. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford +3m10.9s
6. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen +3m37.7s
7. Andreas Mikkelsen VW +4m04.2s
8. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Ford +4m35.2s
9. Robert Kubica PH Citroen +9m31.4s
10. Romain Dumas M-Sport Ford +11m55.8s

7th October, 2013