Monday | 17 Oct 2016

Ogier's journey to a fourth title

Eleven rallies, nine podiums and five wins. Here's how Sébastien Ogier sealed a fourth consecutive WRC title, becoming only the third driver to be crowned champion four years in a row.

Round 1. Rallye Monte-Carlo. Result: 1st
This is the rally Ogier wants to win more than any other. He did, for the third consecutive season. A margin of almost two minutes flattered him a little, because Kris Meeke gave him a run for his money in the first two-and-a-half days. But apart from touching a bridge on the second stage, Seb was faultless.

Round 2. Rally Sweden. Result: 1st
Ogier needed everything he had, and a couple of big slices of luck, to take one of his best wins. He opened the road for all but one stage and that was a big handicap on Saturday’s fresh snow. He was on the limit the whole way and speared into the Norwegian trees after aquaplaning on Friday, before a truly miraculous save when barreling through Vargåsen at 185kph. Awesome on all counts.

Round 3. Rally Guanajuato Mexico. Result: 2nd
If it hadn’t been for Jari-Matti Latvala, Ogier would have won in Mexico on his 100th WRC start. And that would have been a truly stunning result given he was first in the running order for two whole days on some of the loosest roads of the year. Ogier wanted to be judged against drivers who faced conditions similar to those he encountered. And he demolished them all.

Round 4. YPF Rally Argentina. Result: 2nd
Ogier was in his grumpiest mood for some time as the perennial start order debate rattled the Frenchman more than it has for a while. Despite this, he almost pulled off a win with a charging Sunday morning drive but was no match for Hayden Paddon in the last stage duel. Argentina remains the only WRC round Ogier has yet to win.

Round 5. Vodafone Rally de Portugal. Result: 3rd
Opening the road on dry gravel is something Ogier is well accustomed to and he was more than a match for all but Meeke. That was until team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen rediscovered pace he hadn't showed for a long time. Ogier couldn’t hold him off on Sunday but still left Portugal having increased his championship lead.

Round 6. Rally Italia Sardegna. Result: 3rd
Ogier knew he could not win as road opener for the first two legs and pronounced pre-event he would be happy with a podium. That’s exactly what he took and topped up his points tally with a live TV Power Stage win – despite overshooting a hairpin and having to reverse.

Round 7. 73rd PZM Rally Poland. Result: 6th
Rain was the key to Ogier’s fortunes. Had it fallen on Friday or Saturday as originally forecast, he could have overcome the handicap of opening the roads and won the rally. It didn’t. Instead it poured down on Sunday when the running order was reversed and that did him no favours. He was on the ragged edge at times, with a couple of visits to the ditches.

Round 8. Neste Rally Finland. Result: 24th
Ogier's one clanger of the season. He was third until Friday afternoon when an over-ambitious approach to a hairpin right ended with his Polo R nosed in a ditch for 16 minutes. Brake problems on Saturday brought extra penalties but they were an irrelevant extra, as Ogier’s mojo had understandably gone by then.

Round 9. ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Result: 1st
Pre-event, Ogier explained how he aimed to keep out of trouble on day one, build an advantage on day two and then manage it on the final day. And that's exactly what he did. Once again, it was Panzerplatte where he made the difference, thanks to his super-human ability to get more out of his tyres than his rivals.

Round 10. Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse. Result: 1st
Sublime as he moved within touching distance of the title. His rivals could only watch open-mouthed as he won all four of the opening day’s stages to build a strong lead. That meant he could control his speed in less consistent conditions on the final two days to take a maiden Corsica win.

Round 11, RallyRACC Catalunya - Rallye de España. Result 1st
A tough start, when Ogier dropped behind Dani Sordo on inconsistent, muddy but drying roads. But he overcame his rival when the action switched to Tarmac, wrapping up his fourth title with a victory and races to spare - just like the three before.


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