Rally Sweden could have gone one of three ways on the approach to the finish. There was Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in their Volkswagen Polo R WRC, their teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene and team Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul.
Right down to the last few kilometres of the race, different cars kept taking the lead and in the end there was only 4.6 seconds between each of the leading vehicles.
For Ogier, this is the 26th World Rally Championship (WRC) win for him and he is now level with legendary driver Carlos Sainz. It’s also the second time that Ogier and Ingrassia have won Rally Sweden as a duo, making them the only European pair to have done this.
Also, this race marked Mikkelsen and Fløene’s second podium finish in a row at Rally Sweden as they took away third place. It looked as though they were going to win, as they clung to the lead right down until the final hundred metres.
This race is the only one in rallying history where three drivers have been so close during the final special stage, which was the Power stage in this case.
Speaking after his win, Ogier said: “An unbelievable finale. I am incredibly proud of this win. It is certainly one of my best. The first victory in Sweden two years ago, when I beat Sébastien Loeb, was fantastic, but this was even harder-fought. Julien and I gave everything here, from day one right through to the Power Stage. We drove as hard as possible, and it paid off in the end.”
Ogier added that this win wasn’t just an exciting one for the fans, it was also one of the most exciting ones of his career. Yet he also added that he felt sorry for Mikkelsen, who would have had his first rally win had he managed to beat Ogier and Ingrassia. With this in mind, Ogier says he expects to end up battling Mikkelsen again in the future.
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