(Volkswagen Motorsport pic)
FRENCH driver Sebastien Ogier looks set to lead Volkswagen to an historic hat-trick of FIA World Rally Championships at Coates Hire Rally Australia in just over two weeks’ time.
A third straight driver’s championship for Ogier, co-driver’s championship for Julien Ingrassia and Manufacturer’s championship for Volkswagen Motorsport are likely to be finalised on the Coffs Coast on 10-13 September.
The scenario resulting from Volkswagen’s 1-2-3 lockout of ADAC Rallye Germany last weekend promises an exciting bonus attraction for spectators in Australia.
It also will deliver massive extra exposure for the Coffs Coast tourism region as tens of millions of fans tune into three global live television broadcasts from the competition stages.
Chalking up his 30th career win, Ogier led home teammates Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland and Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway for an emotional finish in Germany, Volkswagen’s home event.
With the pressure off he’s looking forward to Australia, where he won in 2013 and 2014.
“I’m so close to my third title now, so I’m really happy,” Ogier said.
Only Latvala could delay his teammate’s successful defence of rally’s elite prize, but with a points deficit of 93 the odds are long. Ingrassia is in an identical position with Latvala’s co-driver Miikka Anttila.
Volkswagen Motorsport’s fortunes in the Manufacturer’s competition are equally solid. With 12 top-two finishes between them from nine rounds, Ogier and Latvala will need to do little in Australia to put the trophy beyond reach of nearest challenger Hyundai.