Rally Sweden - Ogier's Victory

Sebastien Ogier won a thrilling Rally Sweden as Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen threw away a potential maiden World Rally Championship win part-way through the event-closing Varmullsasen power stage, ending his hopes of taking a first WRC victory as Ogier came through to snatch the win, as well as three bonus points for setting the best time on the finale.

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville held the lead at the start of the morning after taking two stage wins on Saturday afternoon, but was overhauled by Mikkelsen on SS19 and then by Ogier on SS20, unable to keep up with the pace of the VWs. The Belgian nonetheless went into the final stage with a shot of victory, starting 4.6s adrift, but fell 6.4s short of a second WRC win, picking up two bonus points for the second quickest power stage time and moving back into second place at Mikkelsen's expense.

Mads Ostberg claimed the final bonus point, having been a factor in the lead battle before his works Citroen sustained a puncture on SS11, leaving him a distant fourth. He subsequently dropped to 10th after losing five minutes stuck in a snow bank on Sunday's opening stage, promoting M-Sport Ford's Ott Tanak to an eventual fourth, 2m26s off the pace. Hayden Paddon took a career-best fifth place finish in the second factory Hyundai, a further minute behind Tanak, with the second M-Sport car of Elfyn Evans sixth after he managed to beach his Ford Fiesta in a snow bank on Friday.

Citroen's Kris Meeke, another to lose time after hitting a snow bank on Friday, entered the power stage with a chance of taking away Evans's sixth place, but a spin left him 21.5s behind the Welshman in the final reckoning. Rounding out the points-scorers were Martin Prokop, Yuriy Protasov - who became the latest driver to win a WRC stage on Friday - and Ostberg, with Kevin Abbring coming home 11th on his factory WRC debut deputising for the injured Dani Sordo.

Jari-Matti Latvala was in strong victory contention, duelling with team-mate Ogier on the early stages of the rally, but the Finn's hopes were dashed when he lost eight minutes stuck in a snow bank on the final stage of Friday. He ended the rally out of the points in 12th position. Also enduring a miserable time was Robert Kubica, who dropped out of the points on Friday with a broken propshaft before being handed a five-minute penalty for his Ford Fiesta RS WRC exceeding the maximum permissible boost level, dropping him to 20th overall. Jari Ketomaa took WRC2 honours after seizing the lead from Pontus Tidemand, the surprise overall pacesetter on the opening superspecial on Thursday evening.

Final Results:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap

1 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 2h55m30.5s
2 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 6.4s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 39.8s
4 Ott Tanak M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2m26.0s
5 Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 3m31.5s
6 Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3m53.0s
7 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 4m05.8s
8 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 4m26.0s
9 Yuriy Protasov M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 5m32.2s
10 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 6m50.9s

15th February, 2015