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“Meanwhile at the Weekend: Ogier wins in Sweden; Cassidy claims TRS title”

February 13, 2013

World Rally Championship
Sebastien Ogier took Volkswagen’s second ever WRC victory {note 1} only two rallies into their return to the sport. Ogier controlled the event from the early stages, leading initial contenders Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) and Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen). Loeb would see off Latvala, but had already dropped over 30 seconds to the imperious Ogier by the end of day two.
Latvala continued to struggle through Saturday, allowing M-Sport’s Mads Ostberg to jump into a podium position. WRC debutante Pontus Tidemand impressed by running top five in the first two days, before and engine problem finished his rally, promoting M-Sport pairing Evgeny Novikov and Thierry Neuville to 5th and 6th respectively.
Citroen drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo took themselves out of contention with rolls in the Swedish snow, while M-Sport returnee Matthew Wilson ended his rally in a similar fashion.
Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Raji won the WRC2 class after he overcame Anders Grøndal in only his second snow rally. Sebb Wiegand retained the WRC2 points lead, finishing 3rd in class.

Full results and points standings.

Toyota Racing Series
Nick Cassidy became the third driver to claim a second Toyota Racing Series crown {note 2}, following a campaign marked by consistent running near the front.
Alex Lynn secured both poles at Manfeild, but a poor start in race one dropped the Englishman behind eventual race winner Steijn Schothorst, while Cassidy slipped through into 2nd. Schothorst pulled away from Cassidy, only for his margin to be deleted when a spinning Jann Mardenborough brought out a safety car, signalling a premature end to the race. Lynn held Lucas Auer at bay for 3rd in the early stages, although the Austrian soon fell away.
Auer lost any hope of the TRS trophy after Sunday’s reverse grid race. The Austrian won, but was later penalised 50 seconds for forcing Schothorst off the track, handing victory to Bruno Bonifacio, while also promoting Cassidy to 2nd spot, ahead of Ignazio D’Agosta.
Cassidy’s weekend only got better when he grabbed his second New Zealand Grand Prix victory. Throughout a safety car punctured race, Lynn held Cassidy close, but could not pressure the Kiwi into an error. Schothorst took another podium, holding Pipo Derani, Bonifacio and Auer (after starting 13th!) at bay; however the chasing trio made the Dutch racer fight for it. Mardenborough’s 7th place finish solidified his place as the TRS’s leading rookie.

Full results and points standings.

{note 1}
Although often forgotten, Volkswagen Motorsport won the 1987 Rallye Côte d’Ivoire, with Kenneth Eriksson at the wheel (co-driven by Peter Diekmann); however that event – while part of the Drivers’ Championship – was not counted as being part of the Manufacturers’ Championship.

{note 2}
Previous double winners of the Toyota Racing Series include David Gaunt (2006 and ’07) and Mitch Evans (2010 and ’11).

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