Ogier makes his point in Sweden

Despite a frustrating run at Rally Sweden, Sébastien Ogier left with five drivers' championships points after some strategic manipulation at the 11th hour by his M-Sport Ford team.

The Frenchman's victory at Rallye Monte-Carlo put him first on the road through Friday's stages in Sweden, and he plunged down the order as he swept away a fresh layer of snow to the benefit of the drivers following.

More time loss followed on Saturday, and heading to Sunday's final stage the defending champion was on course to collect just one point for 10th place, while a start position of fourth on the Power Stage offered little prospect of bonus points.

But Ogier jumped back into Power Stage contention when he deliberately arrived late at the stage and started behind his rivals. His second-fastest time earned him four championship points.

“We knew that this event would be difficult, especially if there was fresh snow on Friday, but we faced a bigger disadvantage than I think any of us had expected." M-Sport Ford boss Malcolm Wilson explained.

“With nothing to lose we had to try and salvage something so the team made the decision to delay Sébastien’s start for the final stage – giving him an equal chance of securing some points."

“We can all take encouragement from his second fastest time through that stage. It gives him four additional points for his championship defence and proves that we would have had the pace were the weather not working against us."

A 4m10sec penalty for checking in late dropped Ogier to 11th in the overall standings behind team-mate Elfyn Evans. More M-Sport Ford tactics enabled him to regain 10th when Evans was penalised for deliberately arriving late at the final control to drop behind his colleague.

"It was a team strategy," Ogier acknowledged. "From our place in the order we had no chance. We tried to play a bit and get an acceptable start position on the Power Stage. Finally we achieved our objective and took away some points."


More News