Sébastien Loeb’s nine-title reign in the World Rally Championship has finally come to an end, with fellow Frenchman Sébastien Ogier set to be crowned the 2013 Drivers’ Champion after his and co-driver Julien Ingrassia’s performance in the Rally France during the past week. Ogier had wrapped up the Drivers’ Championship on the opening stage of the rally, yet still produced a great performance to win the overall event--his seventh win of the season. Note, the title is yet to be officially confirmed by the FIA, motorsport’s governing body.
Ogier owes much thanks to the performance of his 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC. This was Volkswagen’s debut season in WRC and already it can boast a championship title. Ogier also owns some thanks to Loeb, who’s only competing in a partial season of WRC this year as he explores other forms of motorsport.
There are still two rounds to go, but Ogier’s 75 points lead in the Drivers’ Championship means he can’t be beat. The next highest-placed driver is Qatar World Rally Team’s Thierry Neuville, followed by Ogier's VW teammate Jari-Matti Latvala.
The Polo R WRC rally cars used by Ogier and Latvala are based on the humble Polo subcompact, though in WRC trim they get plenty of unique elements including a custom aero kit with widened fenders. They also get a WRC-spec turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 300 horsepower even with an air restrictor in place.
“I am overjoyed--a weekend full of emotion,” Ogier said at the conclusion of the Rally France. “This morning I really pushed hard on the first stage, and that paid off.”
2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC race car