The Rally of Japan last Sunday was won by Citroen’s Sebastien Ogier, who considers this as his second win for the season after his triumph at Rally of Portugal last May. During the race, he was able to take the lead from rival Petter Solberg who experienced some mechanical problems. This is the first time that Ogier has participated in this event. In interviews over the weekend, he had stated that his goal was to finish on the podium. But Ogier was consistent and on Day 3, he drove superbly and became victorious, which he attributes to having found a “good feeling and a good rhythm.” Ogier said that upon arriving, he believed that he will face a “difficult rally” as it was his first time.
Nevertheless, many say that the title for the true hero of the weekend belongs to Petter Solberg who joined the race to become the first privateer to win in the last 16 years. In the first two days of action, Solberg was at the top of the timing reports; but on Sunday, his C4 WRC had a broken damper, allowing Ogier to prevail. Solberg had the flu and barely made it to the cockpit, which made him think that he wouldn’t succeed in the race.
But he actually did quite well and likely would have won if not for the car problem. Third place went to Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala while the fourth rank belongs to Citroen Junior’s Dani Sordo, whose driveshaft broke midway through the Saturday action. Only four stages remained in the rally before Latvala overtook Sordo. Fifth place went to championship leader Sebastien Loeb. Coming in sixth was Mikko Hirvonen, who came near to winning the rally victory but was set back due to a broken differential. Rounding out the Top 10 are Henning Solberg, Federico Villagra, Jari Ketomaa and Martin Prokop.