A tale of two Sebastiens While Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena returned to their winning ways, another Sebastien finished fourth on the hotly-contested Rally Australia. Sebastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia put in a remarkable ...
A tale of two Sebastiens
While Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena returned to their winning ways, another Sebastien finished fourth on the hotly-contested Rally Australia. Sebastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia put in a remarkable performance that allowed the Citroen Junior Team to score some important points in the World Championship for Manufacturers. Having re-started the event under the SupeRally system this morning, Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt were able to contest the final 10 stages before retiring ahead of the final service halt.
The last day of the Rally Australia promised to be a crucial one, with 124.48 competitive kilometres spread over 10 special stages. As was the case since the very start of the rally on Thursday night, conditions remained inconsistent. The roads on Sunday were largely dry, but there were also some damp sections in Gondwana (SS28).
Sebastien Ogier started the final day in fifth place but soon moved up to fourth by overhauling Jari-Matti Latvala, who fell victim to a puncture on Castrol Edge West 1 (SS27).
"We altered our pace once we were in front of Latvala " recounted the Equipe de France FFSA-backed driver at the remote service halt in Kyogle. " Even though we maintained a good rhythm to avoid any nasty surprises, that small margin allowed us to take fewer risks."
Throughout the final loop of five stages, Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia continued to demonstrate their potential and maturity by setting top-five stage times as well as a fastest time overall (their eighth of the rally) on SS34. After 344 competitive kilometres, they finished the rally in fourth overall behind Loeb, Hirvonen and Sordo and ahead of Latvala.
Sebastien Ogier was able to draw a positive conclusion from the long trip to Australia. "It was a very good weekend for us" he said. "Apart from a small mistake yesterday, we were able to fight with the best of them. The C4 WRC was extremely competitive on this event and the Citroen Junior Team did an excellent job. I'm delighted to be able to deliver the team a result like this."
Conrad Rautenbach and Daniel Barritt started the final day under the SupeRally system and were able to accumulate more valuable experience on this brand new event to the World Rally Championship. The Zimbabwean displayed admirable consistency throughout the 10 special stages that comprised the day's competitive action. Only a hole in the radiator, which was picked up on the penultimate stage, prevented them from finishing the rally.
The Citroen Junior Team's season will continue on the asphalt roads of the Catalunya Rally from October 2-4. As was the case in Australia, Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia and Conrad Rautenbach / Daniel Barritt will be nominated to score points for the manufacturers' championship.