Jari-Matti Latvala fought to the end, but it simply wasn't enough to take the FIA World Rally Championship title fight to the final round.
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have claimed back-to-back FIA World Rally Championship titles* after winning the 50th RallyRACC Rally de España today. The French duo has won seven rallies this season and led the Championship for all but one event to raise the prized trophy for the second consecutive year. Ogier's lead stands at 31 points.
Latvala fought hard, but it wasn't enough
Jari-Matti Latvala and Jarmo Lehtinen have put up an incredible fight all weekend, the Finns needing to finish ahead of their team-mates to keep their title chances alive. Despite a string of great stage times, however, time lost on Friday resulted in the Finns standing alongside in second position. Third was taken by Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, their first podium of the season in the Fiesta RS WRC.
With the Driver and Co-driver titles now sealed, and the Manufacturers’ Championship already wrapped up by Volkswagen Motorsport at Rally Australia*, the final round of the series will see an intense fight for outright victory in the Welsh forests.
The final leg of Rally de Espana
Today’s route was the shortest and covered two identical loops of two stages over 72.06 competitive kilometres, the final Riudecanyes test also running as the Power Stage. Ogier began the day with a handy 27.3 second lead, but Latvala was never going to let his team-mate take an easy win or Championship title. The Finn’s relentless pace saw him claim all four stage wins, but it simply wasn’t enough and he ultimately finished just 11.3 seconds adrift. A really strong performance from Mikko Hirvonen rewarded the Finn with third overall and like most of the crews, he ran without problems to the finish.
Mads Østberg remained determined to stay ahead of fifth-placed local hero Dani Sordo and the Norwegian achieved his goal with 8.9 seconds in hand. Sordo’s team-mate Thierry Neuville finished sixth by just 1.9 seconds, the Belgian moving back in to the position after Andreas Mikkelsen started the final stage late, a rare co-driver error. Martin Prokop took a comfortable eighth and Hayden Paddon gained more useful Tarmac experience, finishing ninth in the third Hyundai i20 WRC.
WRC2 and WRC3
Nasser Al-Attiyah rounded off the top 10, but more importantly claimed the FIA WRC 2 Championship win which puts him at the top of the Championship table going into Wales Rally GB. It is also the Qatari’s first victory on Tarmac. In the FIA WRC 3 Championship, Mohamed Al Mutawaa took maximum points and his first category victory of the season.
RallyRACC Rally de España – Final Results
1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia - Volkswagen Polo R WRC 3hr 46min 44.6sec
2. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila - Volkswagen Polo R WRC - 3hr 46min 55.9sec
3. Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen - Ford Fiesta RS WRC - 3hr 48min 26.8sec
4. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson - Citroën DS3 WRC - 3hr 48min 57.9sec
5. Dani Sordo/Marc Marti - Hyundai i20 WRC - 3hr 49min 06.8sec
6. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul - Hyundai i20 WRC - 3hr 50min 45.6sec
7. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene -Volkswagen Polo R WRC - 3hr 50min 47.5sec
8. Martin Prokop/Jan Tomanek - Ford Fiesta RS WRC - 3hr 54min 51.4sec
9. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard - Hyundai i20 WRC - 3hr 55min 57.0sec
10. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Giovanni Bernacchini - Ford Fiesta RRC - 3hr 59min 24.4sec