Following a disappointing Rally Germany, Sebastien Ogier took total control in Australia, winning the event, but dramatically missing out on the title – by just one point.
The Frenchman dominated throughout, winning 19 of the 22 stages in his Polo R to finish with a cushion of over one and a half minutes. But his title celebrations were put on hold when Mikko Hirvonen’s Citroen picked up a puncture on the last stage, allowing Ford’s Thierry Neuville to move into second position with Hirvonen coming home third. Ogier also won the final power stage, but Neuville finished runner-up, grabbing two bonus points to keep his slim title hopes alive.
Ogier’s Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala also suffered a puncture on the final stage, but held on for fourth, just ahead of Mads Ostberg and fellow VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen.
“Of course we would like to celebrate here in Australia already the world title,” Sébastien Ogier said at the last entrance to the park service. “But it was ultimately not our fault that it did not work. We have done our best,” said the 29-year-old.
2013 Rally Australia results
1. S Ogier VW 3h19m55.0s
2. T Neuville M-Sport Ford +1m32.1s
3. M Hirvonen Citroen +2m02.1s
4. J Latvala VW +2m57.4s
5. M Ostberg M-Sport Ford +3m17.2s
6. A Mikkelsen VW +3m37.6s
7. E Novikov M-Sport Ford +7m31.2s
8. N Quinn Italia Mini +13m10.2s
9. K Al Qassimi Citroen +15m17.6s
10. A Al-Kuwari Seashore Ford +17m27.7s