Sebastien Ogier breathed new life into his hopes of a seventh successive world championship by leading a Citroen one-two in Rally Turkey on Sunday.
The Frenchman, now 17 points behind Toyota’s Estonian Ott Tanak after 11 of 14 rounds, beat Finnish teammate Esapekka Lappi by 34.7 seconds on the rocky mountain roads around Marmaris.
Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen was third, the Norwegian’s points stretching the South Korean manufacturer’s lead over Toyota in the team standings to 19 points.
Tanak, who took five points from the closing power stage after retiring on Saturday, now has 210 points to Ogier’s 193 with a maximum 90 still to be won.
Hyundai’s Belgian Thierry Neuville finished eighth, but with four bonus power stage points, and dropped from second to third in the standings with 180. He had rolled his car into a ditch on Saturday.
The victory was Ogier’s first since Mexico in March and his third of the campaign.
“This win was really needed and our only chance to get back in the championship fight,” Ogier, who took the lead on Saturday after Tanak had retired with an electrical problem, told the wrc.com website.
“We knew anything could happen because it’s a super-rough rally but the bad luck we had on the previous round in Germany was behind us.”
The next round is in Wales from October 3-6.
1. Sebastien Ogier-Julien Ingrassia (FRA/Citroen C3) 3hr 50min 12.1sec
2. Esapekka Lappi-Janne Ferm (FIN/Citroen C3) at 34.7sec
3. Andreas Mikkelsen-Anders Jaeger (NOR/Hyundai i20) 1:04.5
4. Teemu Suninen-Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/M-Sport Ford) 1:35.1
5. Dani Sordo-Carlos Del Barrio (ESP/Hyundai i20) 2:25.9
6. Jari-Matti Latvala-Mikka Anttila (FIN/Toyota Yaris) 2:59.1
7. Kris Meeke-Sebastian Marshall (GBR/Toyota Yaris) 3:53.3
8. Thierry Neuville-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL/Hyundai i20) 5:34.8
OVERALL DRIVERS’ STANDINGS
1. Ott Tänak (EST/Toyota) 210 pts
2. Sebastien Ogier (FRA/Citroën) 193
3. Thierry Neuville (BEL/Hyundai) 180
4. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR/Hyundai) 94
5. Kris Meeke (GBR/Toyota) 86
6. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN/Toyota) 84
7. Teemu Suninen (FIN/M-Sport Ford) 83
8. Esapekka Lappi (FIN/Citroën) 80
9. Elfyn Evans (GBR/M-Sport Ford) 78
10. Dani Sordo (ESP/Hyundai) 72