Up and coming star Sébastien Ogier has clinched the Volkswagen Polo R’s first victory in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Sweden, in what was only the team and car’s second competitive outing. Keeping semi-retired WRC legend Sébastien Loeb at bay the whole weekend, young Ogier now leads the Driver’s Championship going into the third round of the 2013 season in Mexico early next month.
Coming off an excellent second place finish in the Monte Carlo season opener, the #8 Volkswagen Polo R WRC dominated proceedings from the word go, sprinting into an early half-minute lead on the opening day. Ogier’s former teammate Loeb clawed back much of the deficit over the next few stages in his Citroën DS3 WRC, only to have a costly crash on the penultimate stage to finish 41.8 seconds behind in second place.
Mads Østberg in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC rounded up the podium while Jari-Matti Latvala driving the second Polo R WRC finished fourth. Ogier then won the bonus Power Stage from his Volkswagen teammate to gain three extra points to add to the 25 he received for winning Rally Sweden.
The perfect 28-point haul brings his season tally to 46 points and he now sits at the head of the Driver’s Championship table, leading nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb (Citroën) by three points. Loeb is only entering four events in this 13-round season, leaving Mads Østberg in third place (24 points) as Ogier’s closest championship rival.
Citroën however still heads the Manufacturer’s Championship from Volkswagen Motorsports by a slim two points, with the works Ford team a further 26 points behind.
Can future champion-elect Ogier keep up the pace to win it all in the Polo R WRC’s maiden season? Now that will be one hell of a success story.