Reigning World Rally Championship (WRC) winner Sebastian Ogier secured his second win of the 2016 season in Rally Sweden. The 32-year old French driver drove his Volkswagen Polo car to win by 29.8 seconds. Ogier led the three-day snow and ice rally from start to finish adding to his wins in the Karlstad-based event in 2013 and 2015.
New Zealand's Hayden Paddon who kept the winner on toes on Saturday finished second on his debut in Hyundai's new-specification i20. The battle for third spot was intense between M-Sport's Mads Ostberg who drove Ford Fiesta RS and Ogier's team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen. In the end, Ostberg secured the spot in a rally shortened by unfavourable weather. The rally saw a total of nine of the 21 snow-covered stages cancelled.
"Winning in Sweden again is an incredible feeling. I just love this rally. The conditions were far from ideal at the start of the week after the thawing and all the rain, which makes it all the more pleasing that we eventually had a really good, wintery Rally Sweden. Yesterday, we probably had to take the greatest risk of our career in order to win. It paid off, and I am just really happy," said Ogier in a statement.
Ott Tanak of DMACK, Dani Sordo of Hyundai Motorsport N, Henning Solberg of Adapta, Craig Breen of Abu Dhabi Total, Elfyn Evans of M-Sport and Teemu Suninen of Team Oreca finished the rally from fifth to tenth place respectively.
Last year's runner-up Jari-Matti Latvala was hit with bad luck in the early stages of the rally. The drive shaft on his car broke in the opening stage, forcing him to retire on Friday. Ogier will next drive in the Guanajuato Rally México in March with the maximum 56 points to his name in the championship.