Volkswagen celebrated this weekend, 3-4 December, with the Champion of Champions as Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen factory driver since 23 November for the World Rally Championship (WRC), emerged victorious in his first outing in the Race of Champions. In the finale, the 27-year old Frenchman clearly beat eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen who had previously beaten Michael Schumacher in the semi-final.
Ogier, who will contest the WRC from 2013 for Volkswagen in the Polo R WRC, demonstrated his outstanding driving abilities in front of around 40,000 enthusiastic spectators in the ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf. During the competition, staged between the world’s best drivers, Volkswagen’s new rally star was the fastest in the field including Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button as well as DTM Champions Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekström and other motorsport greats. Among the race cars used for the Race of Champions were the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, Audi R8 LMS and the rally Škoda Fabia S2000.
As part of the build-up to the Race of Champions Nations Cup, which took place on Saturday, Ogier also had his first public outing in the Polo R WRC, demonstrating the four-wheel drive 300 PS rally car in front of the excited crowd.
Commenting on his Race of Champions victory, Sébastien Ogier said: ‘My first outing in Volkswagen overalls and this in Germany and then victory in the Race of Champions – I’m absolutely delighted. They were exciting races against fantastic opponents. It’s not easy for a newcomer to master the many different cars and the track, but I had a good feeling from the word go. It was a great honour for me to be invited for the first time to participate in the Race of Champions. My thanks also go to the fans that made the atmosphere electric.’ Even the beaten Kristensen admitted afterwards: ‘Sébastien really impressed me and he certainly has a big future ahead of him in rallying with Volkswagen.’
‘The entire Volkswagen team is proud of our new Champion and is delighted with Sébastien for this magnificent win. It’s obviously fantastic that he has won the first prestigious title for Volkswagen only two weeks after his signing, and against a line-up of such high quality,’ praised Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.