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Wales Rally GB 2015: Frenchman Ogier claims victory in 'difficult weekend'

Published date: 15 November 2015 |
Published by: Staff Reporter
Read more articles by Staff Reporter


 

WORLD champion Sebastien Ogier registered his eighth win of the year in the season-ending Wales Rally GB but the Frenchman was in no mood to celebrate in the wake of the Paris shootings.

The Volkswagen Polo R driver beat Irishman Kris Meeke - recording the best finish in a home event by a Briton in 15 years - in his Citroen DS 3 by 26 seconds with Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen third in another Polo R.

At the end of the final power stage Ogier, after a third successive victory in the event, got out of his car and draped a tricolour across his windscreen and the French national flag was in evidence again at a muted podium presentation.

Pictures by Don Jackson-Wyatt

"Victory here is the best way to finish the season but there is no point to celebrate anything," Ogier said afterwards, in reference to Friday's terrorist attacks which killed 129 people.

"We have other things on our mind. It has been a difficult weekend."

Despite the poor weather conditions across the weekend, the crowds came out in force for Saturday’s traditional family-friendly stage at Chirk Castle, while the crowds continued to arrive at Brenig Forest yesterday for a double stage.

The final stage 18 took place on Llandudno’s Great Orme put all spectators were prevented from attending due to strong winds on the Welsh coast.

The drivers then headed back to the Deeside Service Park for the ceremonial trophy presentation, where Ogier was crowned champion.

Wales’ Elfyn Evans finished sixth overall in his home event, ensuring a seventh place finish in the overall World Championship standings.

Ogier finished outside the top four in each of the final four stages but such was his dominance on Saturday - winning four of nine stages - he had enough of a cushion for that not to matter.

Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala finished way down in 52nd spot after crashing out on stage two but the Finn won the final power stage, worth three bonus points, to finish second in the drivers' standings ahead of Mikkelsen.

Meeke's second place, combined with Mads Ostberg's seventh, saw Citroen edge out Hyundai for second place in the manufacturers' championship. "This is a proper Rally GB," said Meeke. 

"I really enjoyed driving in the dark and hats off to all the spectators out there. The weather hasn't been kind this weekend, so to remain out in the forest all that time is a real commitment.

"For us, it's been a solid rally. We knew on Sunday morning that in terms of pace, Seb had enough in his pocket to be able to control proceedings, and our objective this weekend has always been to secure second position in the manufacturers' table for Citroën. 

“When Mads (Østberg - team-mate) ran into problems, that simply crystallised what I had to do."

"Of course it was disappointing to get the puncture - it clearly wasn't what we wanted - but it's one of those things and we had to pick ourselves up," Evans said, after he suffered a puncture on day one. 

“Amazing to finish @WalesRallyGB,” tweeted English driver Chris Hands.

“Three tough days of rallying on fantastic Welsh stages.”

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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