The Portuguese driver has led the event since the first morning, when his chief rival on the event Hayden Paddon suffered a puncture and slipped back from the lead.
Araujo’s Ralliart Italy-prepared Lancer Evo X ran faultlessly through a shortened final day. Mindful of the two-minute lead he enjoyed from the start of this morning, the reigning Production Car champion was unwilling to take any risks and now goes to the final P-WRC round, next month’s Rally of Wales, needing just eight points to seal back-to-back titles.
“It’s been a very good rally,” said Araujo. “The condition has been tough, really tough at times, but we are here and we have the win. I am happy for that and for the way the car has run. We were about safety today.”
Estonian Ott Tanak remained in second place throughout the final day, having been elevated to the position after Anders Grondal retired after the final Saturday stage last night with two punctures on his Subaru.
Tanak’s Mitsubishi didn’t miss a beat, allowing him to cruise to his best position on an asphalt round of the series - although Tanak wasn’t entirely convinced asphalt was the right description of the roads.
“I think we would have been better using a gravel tyre on some of the stages,” said the Mitsubishi-driving Pirelli Star Driver. “But I have learned a lot. Today’s stage was okay in the military area. It’s nice to get to the end without any problems.”
Subaru driver Toshi Arai ended his event on a high with fastest time through the day’s longest test, the 23-kilometre Bitche Camp stage. The Japanese’s third place goes some way to making up for his spectacular exit from his home round of the P-WRC in Sapporo last month.
San Marino’s Alex Raschi was the second of the Pirelli Star Drivers home, collecting fourth place in his Mitsubishi. The cheerful Raschi said: “So many people in the stages today, like the other days - it’s incredible. The road was not so bad, quite like Germany this long stage. I’m happy to be at the finish - it has not been easy!”
Grondal returned for the final day’s three stages and completed the event in fifth place in his Subaru.
Follow this link to see the Production Car World Rally Championship standings after Rallye de France.
"The condition has been tough, really tough at times, but we are here and we have the win"