WRC – Ogier and Toyota FIA World Rally Champions; Latvala takes the win | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WRC – Ogier and Toyota FIA World Rally Champions; Latvala takes the win

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18.11.18

Rally Australia - Sunday afternoon

The final three stages of Rally Australia and the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship delivered yet more drama, but Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia clinched their sixth consecutive world titles* after late challenges from Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville ended in accidents. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila powered to victory on the final round of the series and in doing so helped secure the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers for their Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team*.

Going into the final stages Ogier only needed to finish sixth, such were the positions of his Championship rivals. The Frenchman had adopted a safe rhythm the whole day and could watch the drama unfold over the closing three stages. In the first, Thierry Neuville swiped a bank and ripped the rear left wheel from his Hyundai, instantly ending a season-long battle for a maiden title. In the penultimate stage of the rally, Tänak - who was set to re-inherit the lead from team-mate Latvala to give him every possible chance of a title challenge - retired after hitting a tree and losing drive. With that, Ogier’s sixth title was assured and the Frenchman then flew through the final Power Stage to take the stage win and another five points.

With the retirement of Tänak, Latvala was free to secure his first WRC win since Sweden 2017. The Finn, competing on his 195th world rally, claimed two of the stage wins this afternoon and ultimately took victory by 32.5 seconds over Hayden Paddon/Sebastian Marshall, the duo delighted with a podium finish at the end of the season. Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen also moved up the order courtesy of Tänak’s retirement and the Norwegians took the final podium position after a weekend of ups and downs.

Esapekka Lappi’s fourth position also helped secure Toyota the manufacturers’ title. The Finn had been aware all day that he had to stay on the road and finish the event to assure the team of the title in only its second year back in the FIA World Rally Championship after a 17-year absence. Behind fifth placed Ogier was Elfyn Evans and seventh was taken by Craig Breen. The Irish driver had a nightmare afternoon that saw him go off the road and spin four times over the three stages. Teemu Suninen retired his Fiesta before the final stage following an impact in the previous stage.

Chileans Alberto Heller/Jose Diaz secured their first win in the FIA WRC 2 Championship category and headed Gianluca Linari/Pietro Ometto in the standings.

This year’s FIA World Rally Championship has been the most incredible in years and the twists and turns that have provided intense highs and devastating lows for the crews have changed the face of the championship event by event. While the WRC circus can now take a breather from what has been a year-long intense battle, thoughts will already be turning to the famous Rallye Monte-Carlo which looms early next year (24-27 January).

Rally Australia – Final unofficial results (subject to final scrutineering)

1

Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila

Toyota Yaris WRC

2hr 59min 52.0sec

2

Hayden Paddon / Sebastian Marshall

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

3hr 00min 24.5sec

3

Mads Østberg / Torstein Eriksen

Citroen C3 WRC

3hr 00min 44.2sec

4

Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hr 00min 54.3sec

5

Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia

Ford Fiesta WRC

3hr 02min 22.8sec

6

Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt

Ford Fiesta WRC

3hr 02min 57.1sec

7

Craig Breen / Scott Martin

Citroen C3 WRC

3hr 08min 51.0sec

8

Alberto Heller / Jose Diaz

Ford Fiesta R5

3hr 22min 20.5sec

9

Steve Glenney / Andy Sarandis

Škoda Fabia R5

3hr 26min 53.8sec

10

Jourdan Serderidis / Lara Vaneste

Ford Fiesta WRC

3hr 35min 06.1sec