Outgoing world champion Sébastien Ogier says Ott Tänak is a worthy successor after the Estonian ended his run of six titles on Sunday.
Tänak took his maiden WRC crown with second place at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España. Ogier’s hopes of a seventh championship fell apart when his Citroën C3 suffered hydraulic failure, forcing the Frenchman out of the lead in the second stage.
The pair, who worked together for a season at M-Sport, are close friends as well as huge rivals.
Ogier said: “I would really like to congratulate Ott, Martin and their team, because they fully deserve this title more than anyone. They were both the fastest and the most consistent all year long. I really am happy for Ott, someone I like a lot.”
Talking about his own year, Ogier said he could be satisfied, even if he wouldn’t be celebrating a title for the first time since 2012.
“I think I’ve done everything I could throughout the season. I have no regrets and I take my hat off to him and look forward to taking up the fight once again next year – with the firm intention of winning back the trophy,” he said.
Ogier admitted he was pleased with the progress Citroën had made following a dismal showing on asphalt last time out at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
“After the problem, our only remaining objective was to try and enjoy our time at the wheel and to post some good times to confirm our progress on asphalt.
“The feeling was indeed much better than in the last rally on this surface, even though the speed still wasn’t there to win the stages,” he added.