M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Sebastien Ogier took victory in the 2018 WRC Drivers Championship on Sunday after finishing the Kennards Hire Rally Australia fifth place. Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia drove a measured rally and got the job done coming home 2:30.8 behind rally winner Jari Matti Latvala.
Speaking following the rally, Ogier who moves to the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Champion team for 2019 commented by saying:
It’s been an incredible season and the fight has been so close. Not so long ago we thought it was going to be difficult to take the title again, but we never gave up. We gave it everything and had such an amazing team around us. I am so proud of all of them and of course I want to thank Malcolm for another amazing job. What we achieved together over the past two years has been really special, and I am very proud of that.
Julien Engrassia commented by saying:
We had a beautiful journey with M-Sport over these two years, and everything we achieved we achieved together. We wanted to end our time with Malcolm and the team in a special way, and that is what we did. There have been a lot of ups and downs during the season and the rally, and we gave it everything to achieve this amazing result. Hopefully I have a little energy left to celebrate with the team tonight!
Elfyn Evans finished the rally in sixth place and speaking following the event he said:
Congratulations to Seb, Julien and the whole team. I’m glad they were able to secure this one and – even though it wasn’t always easy – I’m glad we were able to help them where we could. Obviously for various reasons our season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but the speed was there and hopefully we’ll have a chance to prove that again next year.
Teemu Suninen was forced to retire from the rally and speaking afterwards he said:
“It was a shame not to have finished this rally, but I am really happy for the team and for Seb and Julien who really deserved this Championship. Everyone has worked really hard and it’s nice to see this result for them.
“For me, I think I showed some good improvement this weekend and was able to set some good times on Friday. On the weekend I learnt a lot about how to drive in the loose gravel, and I’m looking forward to next year when I can build on everything I learnt this season.”
M-Sport Ford World Rally Championship Team Principal Malcolm Wilson OBE commented by saying:
It’s been an emotional day and I can tell you that this championship really does mean a lot. Two months ago it wasn’t looking good, but when you have Sébastien and Julien in your team you know that anything is possible.
“The way they fought back over the last three events was incredible and I am so proud of all we have achieved together. We will certainly miss them next year, but this was a proper team effort and I have to say that every single member of the team played their part in the result.
“I would also like to congratulate Ott and Thierry on such a fantastic championship battle over the course of the season. We know first-hand how competitive they are and it really was a pleasure to watch the world’s three best drivers do battle right down to the wire.
“The sport is in fantastic shape at the moment, and I think everyone involved should be proud.”