Ogier wins Wales Rally GB to close on championship leader Neuville

Ogier wins Wales Rally GB to close on championship leader Neuville

Wales Rally GB
France's Sébastien Ogier (left) and co-driver Julien Ingrassia celebrate winning the Wales Rally GB, the eleventh stage of the FIA World Rally Championship. (GEOFF CADDICK/AFP)

LLANDUDNO: Sebastien Ogier won the Wales Rally GB on Sunday (Oct 7) to move to within seven points of Thierry Neuville with two races left, reigniting his bid for a sixth consecutive world championship crown.

The Frenchman's title hopes were hanging by a thread on Friday morning when a broken gearbox plunged the Ford Fiesta driver to eighth, but he charged up the leaderboard as his championship rivals encountered their own problems.

Neuville scrambled back to finish fifth, minimising the damage caused when he slid into a sodden ditch on Saturday.

Ott Tanak is 21 points behind Neuville after retiring his Toyota Yaris from a comfortable lead on Saturday afternoon with a broken radiator.

"It was a huge weekend, such a tough fight," said Ogier. "Toyota was very strong, Ott was so far ahead before he had his trouble and then Jari-Matti (Latvala) was so strong.

"I didn't know if I could stay in front in the forests, but asphalt is a surface I like and we managed to secure the win."

Latvala erased Ogier's slender overnight advantage in Sunday morning's slippery forest speed tests and led in his Yaris by 0.2 seconds with two stages remaining. But Ogier thrived on the drying gravel roads and the asphalt streets of Llandudno to move back in front.

Esapekka Lappi filled the final podium place in another Yaris.

Source: AFP/de