VW ace Sebastien Ogier is the new World Rally Champion after getting the job done in front of a sea of crazed French fans on Thursday night’s Rally France Power Stage.
Ogier was third fastest on the bonus-scoring stage on the streets of Strasbourg to take the point he required to put the title beyond chief rival Thierry Neuville’s reach.
Neuville in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta was second fastest on the stage which was won by Citroen’s Dani Sordo.
Ogier’s achievement marks a major moment in WRC history as it brings to an end Citroen superstar and fellow Frenchman Sebastien Loeb’s unbroken nine-year reign.
His first WRC crown, off the back of six rally wins in 2013, is all the remarkable as it is the first season in the WRC for his VW team and its Polo R.
It also means the pressure is off and hundreds of thousands of fanatical French can look forward to the Ogier vs Loeb duel they have been waiting for on the roads surrounding Strasbourg over the next three days.
After almost a decade of dominance, Rally de France-Alsace heralds national hero Loeb’s final appearance in the WRC. The event finishes in his hometown of Haguenau on Sunday afternoon.