Ogier triumphs again

Ogier clinched his third World Rally Championship in a row after winning Rally Australia for the third year running, taking the 2015 title with three events remaining. 

France's Sebastien Ogier (right) with co-driver Julien Ingrassia celebrate after winning Rally Australia.   -  AP

Ogier drove a spectacular race in Australia   -  Getty Images

Sebastien Ogier joined some select company on the world rally circuit and enhanced France’s long dominance of the sport.

Ogier clinched his third World Rally Championship in a row after winning Rally Australia for the third year running, taking the 2015 title with three events remaining.

It was Ogier’s seventh win of the season and 31st WRC victory of his career that began in 2006.

Sebastien Loeb won his nine titles in consecutive years from 2004, meaning French drivers have won the WRC title 12 years in a row.

Ogier had a .03-second lead over Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke to begin the final five stages, and won the opening speed stage by 2.5 seconds. That stretched his lead over Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, the driver closest to him in the overall standings, to 5.1 seconds. Going into the final stage, Ogier led Latvala by 11.2 seconds.

The 31-year-old Ogier finished the 17-stage, 311.36-kilometer (192.20-mile) rally in 2 hours, 59 minutes, 16.4 seconds; 12. 3 seconds ahead of Latvala. Meeke, in a Citroen, was third, 32.6 seconds behind Ogier.

Ogier and co-driver and fellow Frenchman Julien Ingrassia won eight of those stages, including the final seven.

“So far an amazing season, the best I have ever done,” Ogier said as he jumped out of his car after winning the final stage. “And this rally win is very significant. For sure it was the most difficult rally to open the roads on. On paper it was impossible to win but I was determined. It's the perfect way to secure the title.”

Latvala had some alternator issues during the final few stages. “I’m happy to have been so consistent and to have made no mistakes,” the Finnish driver said.

Ogier came into Rally Australia with a 93-point lead over Latvala, and with the 25 points he picked up for winning here, plus bonus points for winning power stages, put the championship out of reach for the Finnish driver.

After Rally Australia, Ogier has 235 series points, Latvala 134 and Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway 111.