Sebastien Ogier wins fifth WRC title after podium in Wales Rally
Frenchman Sebastien Ogier sealed off his fifth FIA World Rally Championship title after a third-place finish in the Wales Rally GB, with a round to spare in the 2017 season.
"I don't know what to say. It's been a tough year for sure. Thanks to everyone at M-Sport and Malcolm. It's amazing to be the world champion with the team," he said.
Ogier is now second in the all-time list behind countryman Sebastien Loeb, who has nine titles to his name - the M-Sport driver overtook the Finn pair of Tommi Makinen and Juha Kankkuunen, who have four each.
This is Ogier's first championship win with M-Sport team driving the Ford Fiesta WRC, having won the previous four titles driving the Polo R WRC for the Volkswagen Motorsport outfit.
After the departure of the German manufacturer, Ogier's future in the championship seemed dicey until the confirmation of a drive with M-Sport.
The French driver with co-driver Julien Ingrassia shocked everyone with a win in the first rally of the season in Monaco, while he earned his second one in Portugal.
Along with the two wins, his seven podium positions aided the 33-year-old in winning his fifth consecutive championship with 215 points - when his immediate rivals were hampered with inconsistency.
While Hyundai's Thierry Neuville rose up to the challenge with three wins and four podiums, however, the Belgian's four non-points rounds hurt his chances.
With the championship done and dusted, the fight for second is still open, which will be decided in the season-finale in Australia between Neuville and M-Sports' Ott Tanak - the duo separated by 14 points.
In the manufacturers' championship, the M-Sport outfit has already taken the title from Hyundai - which is the British squad's first title victory in the WRC.
Meanwhile, Ogier's future is yet to be determined for the 2018 season, with M-Sport being the priority - however, it is believed that he is in talks with Hyundai, as well as Citroen.