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  Home > Seasons > Season 2018
Ogier wins the title against stiff opposition
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In 2018 Sebastien Ogier claimed World Championship for the sixth time. But it was not as much his victory as oppositions failure to prevent it.

After first four events of the season, Ogier had already scored three wins and it seemed like he was again trotting off to an easy title. But things took rapid change to worse as Ogier failed to score in Portugal, which allowed Thierry Neuville to snatch the championship lead and later further extend the lead with two consecutive wins. In next three events Ott Tanak, Toyota's new signing, took string of victories and also he passed Ogier in championship fight.

But then Lady Luck turned her back to Tanak, who lost seemingly sure victory in Rally GB whereas reinvigorated Ogier scored a much needed win. This combined with his second overall behind Citroen's Sebastien Loeb in next event in Catalunya gave championship lead back to him.

Before the final round in Australia, Ogier was leading Neuville by three points and Tanak was 23 points behind. All three had chance to win the title but only one of them finished the rally - Ogier.

Wins of the season were divided rather evenly between Ogier (4), Tanak (4) and Neuville (3). Only the final two rounds were won by drivers other than these three and in both cases, these wins marked third longest droughts for their respective winners. Loeb's winning guest drive at Citroen in Catalunya was third longest span between wins ever while Latvala's win in season ending Rally Australia ended third longest streak in starts between wins (see relevant statistics).

Changes
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Calendar was kept at 13 events but Poland was dropped in favour of Turkey, which made a return to the series albeit in new location.

The most interesting juggle, or drama if you will, went on at Citroen. Firstly, team principal Yves Matton moved to Rally Director at FIA in February and new team Principal, Pierre Budar, took up his post already in January for Rally Monte Carlo. Next one to leave was technical director Christophe Besse who was dismissed at the end of March and it was not until August that successor (Olivier Maroselli) was appointed.

Upheaval did not end there, though, as team's lead driver Kris Meeke was sacked after his heavy crash in Portugal. For some time team did not have neither technical director nor lead driver, just new principal on the job. After some soul searching, new line emerged. First Mads Ostberg became de facto team leader, then new technical director was hired and at the end of the season team scooped up Sebastien Ogier to lead the team for 2019 season.

Interestingly, Toyota scooped up Meeke whom Citroen has so eagerly tossed away.

New cars
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All teams still had cars fresh from 2017 regulation overhaul and thus no new cars were introduced. Everyone were busy tweaking and fine tuning their cars, most conspicuously M-Sport and Citroen.

M-Sport tried new aerodynamic package in Rally Finland, intending to optimize airflows at the rear of the car in a rally where speeds were extremely high. Package wasn't as big step ahead as hoped. Citroen had been struggling with unpredictable handling of the C3 WRC and to combat this, they first introduced new rear axle geometry in Argentina and then new parts to front suspension in Finland.

2018 champions
(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
2018 FIA World Champions: Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window
Drivers scoring their
first win
  no new winners
first drivers' point
  F. Greensmith (Mexico)
  P. Heller (Mexico)
  Y. Bonato (Corsica)
  L. Pieniazek (Portugal)
  M. Griebel (Deutschland)
  S. Tempestini (Turkey)
  C. Ingram (Turkey)
  S. Glenney (Australia)
  A. Heller (Australia)
first stage win
  no new stage winners
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