(WRC.com, 17/8/2013) IT’S a long shot, but Frenchman Sebastien Ogier could arrive in Australia next month with the FIA World Rally Championship for drivers already in the bag.
And if he doesn’t clinch the title at Round 9 Rallye Deutschland next weekend, he says he’ll be happy to do it at the next round, Coates Hire Rally Australia on the NSW Coffs Coast on 12-15 September.
Ogier heads to Germany with 181 points in the drivers’ standings and a lead over joint second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville of 90.
If in Germany the Volkswagen Polo R driver increases his lead over his rivals by 22 points to 112 – the number of points available from the last four rallies – he will be guaranteed the title.
Likely? Ogier isn’t getting his hopes up about securing the title in front of his Volkswagen team’s home crowd.
“I know we’ll have a first chance to grab the title, though it’s purely mathematic,” he said.
“The most important thing is that it happens – I don’t care where, if it’s Australia, France or even later, I will be very happy for that.”
If he was to bag the title in Germany, with four rounds of this season still to come, the speed of his achievement would eclipse the record of reigning champion Sebastien Loeb, who is winding down his WRC career.
Loeb secured six of his nine titles before the final round but never more than three rallies early. His standout years were 2005, when he clinched the title on round 13 of 16, and 2010 and 2012 when the battle was won after round 11 of 13.