It went down to the wire in Sweden and in the end Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia won out.
The French double act came through to defeat Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and their Volkswagen team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene in the most nail-biting battle in the history of the World Rally Championship.
This three-car thriller had picked up impetus right through to just a few kilometres from the end, with the lead exchanging hands regularly until the three protagonists went into the final showdown separated by a mere 4.6 seconds.
WRC victory number 26 for Ogier – who drew level with the iconic Carlos Sainz and is now third in the list of all-time greats.
Further to this, Ogier/Ingrassia are now the only central European duo to have won the Rally Sweden twice whereas for Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene, a third place meant a second podium in a row for the Rally Sweden.
Speaking after the rally, Sebastien Ogier, driver of the Volkswagen Polo R, said, “An unbelievable finale. I am incredibly proud of this win. It is certainly one of my best.”
“The first victory in Sweden two years ago, when I beat Sébastien Loeb, was fantastic, but this was even harder-fought. Julien and I gave everything here, from day one right through to the Power Stage.”
Adding, “We drove as hard as possible, and it paid off in the end. It was certainly one of the most thrilling and exciting ends to a rally – not just for the fans, but also of my career.”
Ogier had secured the stage win on the final 16km special stage, and therefore made sure Volkswagen emerged victorious again.
Going into the final split however, it was Andreas Mikkelsen who led the Rally Sweden – his narrow lead stood at 2.7 seconds with just 5.37km remaining.
A minor skid and the subsequent spin dashed Andreas Mikkelsen’s hopes of a first WRC triumph.
Thankfully, the Norwegian native still managed to rescue a second successive podium – approximately 40 seconds after their spin, Mikkelsen/Floene were back on the road and careering towards third place at the Rally Sweden.