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Ogier's Oz: 'Missed title by point'

2013-09-16 08:47

1 POINT TO CLAIM THE TITLE: Sebastien Ogier will have to wait until the France Rally in October to claim his first World Rally title. Image: AP

Sebastien Ogier won the Australian Rally but a final stage puncture by Mikko Hirvonen, cut short his first World Rally championship title. Ogier said: "I had missed the title by one point."

SYDNEY, Australia - Sebastien Ogier won the Australian Rally but his push for a first World Rally championship title will have to wait until the next round of the World Rally championship in France.

Ogier won 19 of the event's 22 stages, including the Power Stage, and finished 1min32 ahead of Thierry Neuville to claim his sixth victory of the 2013 season. Mikko Hirvonen was third, 2min02.1 behind the winner.

Ogier was dominant throughout but his title celebrations were put on hold when a final stage puncture for Hirvonen cost him second place and elevated Neuville to second place.

TITLE MISSED BY POINT

The extra points for Neuville, as well as two bonus points for claiming second in the final Power Stage, meant Ogier fell just short of the title after four days of gravel competition covering 352km on the Coffs Harbour coast of New South Wales.

Ogier said: "The team told me at the finish line that I had missed the title by one point because Mikko had a problem. I tried my best. The most important thing is that we did another perfect rally and we thought it was OK for the title but it can't be written down yet.

 "When you do a perfect job like that you expect to get it, but it's going to happen soon."

Ogier now has three rounds remaining in which to secure the World Rally title.

Hirvonen had a left-rear flat on his Citroen DS3 on the 29.44km second pass through the Shipmans stage. Neuville's unexpected last-stage ascension in the points standings was enough to deny Ogier the championship, which now must wait until round 11 in France over October 3-6.

Hirvonen was mystified by his mishap: "I have no idea why we had a puncture, we were in the middle of the road the whole stage."

Rally Australia results
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julian Ingrassia (F/F), Volkswagen 3hr19min55.0
2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B), Ford +1min32.1
3 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/FIN), Citroën +2min02.1
4 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miika Anttila (FIN/FIN), Volkswagen +2min57.4
5 Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S), Ford +3min17.2
6 Andreas Mikkelesen/Paul Nagle (N/IRL), Volkswagen +3min37.6
7 Evgeny Novikov/Ilka Minor (RUS/A), Ford +7min31.2
8 Nathan Quinn/David Green (AUS/AUS), Mini +13min10.2
9 Khalid Al Qassimi/Scott Martin (UAE/GB), Citroën +15min17.6
10 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari/Killian Duffy (Q/IRL), Ford +17min27.7

Drivers’ points*
1 Sébastien Ogier 212
2 Thierry Neuville 129
3 Jari-Matti Latvala 110
4 Mikko Hirvonen 103
5 Dani Sordo 96
6 Mads Østberg 77
7 Sébastien Loeb 68
8 Martin Prokop 49
9 Evgeny Novikov 47
10 Andreas Mikkelsen 34

Manufacturers’ points
1 Volkswagen Motorsport 299
2 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 251
3 Qatar WRT, 145; 4. Qatar M-Sport WRT 142
5 Jipocar Czech National Team 51
6 Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT 41
7 Volkswagen Motorsport II\ 34
8 Lotos WRC Team 20
* Provisional

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