The Volkswagen driver caps off an incredible season in style with Welsh victory.
The Frenchman led from the very first stage of the rally in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC, bringing his car home on Sunday 21.8s ahead of his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.
M-Sport driver Thierry Neuville claimed third, while also securing second in the drivers’ championship ahead of Latvala, the young Belgian’s brilliant 2013 season in the Ford Fiesta RS eclipsed only by the mastery of this year’s champion, Sebastien Ogier.
Ostberg and Mikkelsen fight it out
Norwegian Mads Ostberg ended a frustrating season on a high, claiming fourth ahead of his compatriot Andreas Mikkelsen in the third Volkswagen Polo after pushing hard on the final two days.
Mikkelsen had been looking to take the fight to Thierry Neuville’s third position going into Sunday’s stages in an effort to make it an all-Volkswagen podium. But a spin on Stage 17 meant that the Norwegian had to settle for fifth, ahead of the Ford Fiesta WRC of Martin Prokop.
Citroen's Welsh woes
While Volkswagen was recording its second one-two of the team’s incredible return year to the WRC, it was an event to forget for Citroen.
Team leader Mikko Hirvonen flew home to Finland on Sunday morning to begin his Christmas holidays early after a massive crash on Friday caused by a missed pace note from co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen. The Finn may well have competed in his final rally for Citroen, with insiders tipping him for a return to the M-Sport squad that he left at the end of the 2011 season.
Meanwhile ex-F1 driver Robert Kubica, in his first rally in full-on WRC machinery for Citroen, crashed heavily not once but twice, leaving just Dani Sordo to finish seventh for the French team.
Ogier a worthy champion
But Wales Rally GB 2013, as with the whole of the 2013 WRC season, will be remembered for the calm and controlled dominance of Sebastien Ogier, who looks to have well and truly picked up the mantle from nine-time champion and fellow countryman Sebastien Loeb.
“It’s really amazing, I’m so happy and a big thanks to the team,” said Ogier after climbing out of his Polo R having secured the win.
“It’s another great victory for us,” he added. “Just really a perfect season for us.”
The WRC will return next January, with the Rallye Monte Carlo kicking off the 2014 season.