Andreas Mikkelsen secured his career-first win in the World Rally Championship, inheriting the lead after Sebastien Ogier hit the barrier during the final stage and lost a wheel.
Ogier's crash with four kilometres to go in the rally meant that Mikkelsen, who had previously stood on the podium 12 times but never on the top step, beat VW teammate Jari-Matti Latvala by three seconds.
Sitting at the front by 50.9 seconds at the start of the day, Ogier took no risks over the first five stages, but overshot a left-hander during the final run and was unable to finish the rally.
"I don't really know what to say. Of course [this is] not the way I wanted to win my first rally. It's unreal," said Mikkelsen after finding out that he had won.
"We struggled on gravel but we pushed like hell on tarmac. We gave everything we could."
Mikkelsen had started the day 1.3s behind Latval,a but two stage wins from the Norwegian closed the gap to just four tenths.
Latvala’s hopes of fending off Mikkelsen took a big hit when he lost nine seconds with a puncture but, he was back in contention as the Norwegian spun on the penultimate stage.
However, Mikkelsen blitzed through the powerstage finale with the fastest time, extending his lead over Latvala to take what would eventually be the rally victory.
Unable to fight with the VWs, Hyundai's Dani Sordo did not put a foot wrong and got to celebrate a podium on home soil in third, with Kris Meeke dropping behind Citroen teammate Mads Ostberg for fourth after a spin and stall on SS19.
The Briton, however, ended the rally on a positive note by going third-fastest in the powerstage and scoring a point.
Thierry Neuville made a similar mistake to Meeke and then conceded almost three minutes after losing transmission under braking and damaging his car’s front in the penultimate stage, allowing fellow Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon to secure sixth and dropping behind Martin Prokop as well.
With his victory and maximum points from the powerstage, Mikkelsen has secured third place in the championship.
Overall classification (top 5)
|Pos.||Driver / Co-Driver||Car||Time/Delay|