Barcelona, Spain - Rally world champion Sebastien Ogier has clinched his fourth consecutive championship for Volkswagen after winning in Spain.
Ogier's title was the 13th in a row by a French driver called Sebastien, with compatriot Sebastien Loeb winning a record nine consecutively before him with Citroen between 2004 and 2012.
The Volkswagen driver had needed 16 points to be sure of the title - effectively third place and one of three bonus points available - but in the end his comfortable victory in the Rally of Catalunya made all such calculations unnecessary.
Ogier finished the final stage 15.6s clear of Dani Sordo and also won two points in the power stage, with the Sordo’s Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville third, a further minute behind.
The victory, on the championship's only mixed surface rally with gravel and asphalt stages, was the 37th of Ogier's career and fifth of the season.
“It's been a tough season but it's fantastic,” said the Frenchman, who had led by 5.8 seconds on Sunday morning after retaking the lead on Saturday. “To be champion two rallies before the end again is great. I cannot do much more.”
Ogier now has 222 points in the championship with Norwegian team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, who clipped a barrier and rolled his Volkswagen Polo while running third in Spain on Saturday, and Neuville now level on 127.
The 32-year-old Frenchman equalled the achievements of Finland's Tommi Makinen, who also won four titles in a row between 1996 and 1999, and Juha Kankkunen as quadruple champions. Only Loeb has won more.
The next round will be in Wales from 27-30 October, with the final rally of the season in Australia in November.
1 Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen 3:13:03.600
2 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai +15.6
3 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai +1:15.0
4 Hayden Paddon (New Zealand) Hyundai +1:27.8
5 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Ford +3:24.4
6 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +5:24.9
7 Kevin Abbring (Netherlands) Hyundai +7:31.3
8 Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic) Skoda +9:05.1
9 Pontus Tidemand (Sweden) Skoda +9:20.4
10 Craig Breen (Ireland) Citroen +9:57.1