Sebastien Ogier retains World Rally Championship title by winning Rally of Catalonia
Last Updated: 16/10/16 5:26pm
Frenchman Sebastien Ogier sealed his fourth consecutive World Rally Championship title in style by winning the Rally of Catalonia.
Ogier needed just a point to retain his crown, but the Volkswagen driver claimed his fifth win of the season by holding off home favourite Dani Sordo.
Belgian Thierry Neuville took third place to move level with Andreas Mikkelsen in the battle for second in the championship.
"It's been a tough season but fantastic," said Ogier, who celebrated by leaping onto the roof of his car with co-driver Julien Ingrassia. "Thank you so much to the team! We have had the perfect car all weekend.
"It's fantastic to take the championship two rallies before the end of the season, I couldn't do much more. I had so much fun behind the steering wheel this weekend. Joining the list of big names who are four-time title winners is just amazing."
Ogier's latest title takes him level with Finnish duo Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Makkinen as the second most successful rally driver of all-time.
But he remains some way off the nine consecutive titles won by compatriot Sebastien Loeb between 2004 and 2012.
Ogier, 32, started the weekend in a commanding position with a podium finish almost certain to guarantee the title.
However, his job was made even easier when team-mate and championship rival Mikkelsen crashed out on Saturday, meaning a solitary point was enough.
After a difficult start in treacherous conditions on Thursday and Friday, Ogier reeled in Sordo by winning five of eight speed stages on Saturday to move in front.
And he was faster than Sordo on all four of Sunday's stages to emphatically seal the title by 15.6 seconds with Neuville a further minute back in third.
"Really disappointed but I need to offer Seb my congratulations," said Sordo. "I did my best, and I want to thank my fans for their support. I did my maximum."