Sebastien Ogier has celebrated his first World Rally Championship crown in perfect style with victory on his home round, Rallye de France.
But there was a shocking end to nine-times champ Sebastien Loeb’s career when he crashed out of the event while pushing for the win.
VW star Ogier was one of four drivers at the top of the leaderboard who went into Sunday’s stages covered by just five seconds.
He pounced straight away with two knock-out fastest stage times to take over the lead and from there he was never headed, winning by the eventual margin of 12.2 seconds as the event finished in Loeb’s hometown of Haguenau.
Many had tipped Loeb to emerge victorious, but just a kilometre into the morning’s opening stage he lost control of his Citroen in pouring rain and rolled off the road at considerable speed.
In the end it was Citroen’s Dani Sordo who took second from Ogier’s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in third.
Fourth after losing the lead with a puncture on Saturday was M-Sport Ford driver Thierry Neuville.
Former Formula One racer Robert Kubica was a comfortable WRC2 category winner in his Citroen, ahead of M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans who often matched the Pole’s pace after losing time early on with a puncture.