epa04621267 Sebastien Ogier of France driving his VOLKSWAGEN POLO R WRC during day 4 of the FIA World Rally Championship in Kirkenaer, Norway, 15 February 2015. EPA/Nikos Mitsouras

Karlstad, Sweden - Sebastien Ogier maintained his impressive start to the World Rally Championship season by coming out on top of a thrilling three-car battle to win the Rally of Sweden on Sunday.

Double world champion Ogier, who won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, trailed Thierry Neuville and Volkswagen Polo R team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen going into Sunday's stages but drove superbly to take the win.

Hyundai i20 driver Neuville suffered with intercom problems on the day's first special stage and lost time when he drove into a snowbank. He ended up 6.4 seconds behind Ogier, with Mikkelsen third.

Mikkelsen looked to be heading for victory in the final stage before clipping a bank and losing nearly 43 seconds.

Ogier, who is chasing a third consecutive world title, held his nerve to take the victory and claim a 23-point lead over both Neuville and Mikkelsen in the standings.

The next round of the World Rally Championship will be the Rally of Mexico from 5-8 March.

RESULTS

1 Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen - 2hr55m30.5s

2 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai +6.4s

3 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) Volkswagen +39.8

4 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Ford +2m26.0

5 Hayden Paddon (New Zealand) Hyundai +3:31.5

6 Elfyn Evans (Britain) Ford +3:53.0

7 Kris Meeke (Britain) Citroen +4:05.8

8 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford +4:26.0

9 Yuriy Protasov (Ukraine) Citroen +5:32.2

10 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Citroen +6:50.9

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS – DRIVERS

1 Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen Motorsport - 53

2 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) Volkswagen Motorsport II - 30

3 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai Shell World Rally Team - 30

4 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Volkswagen Motorsport - 19

5 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 14

6 Elfyn Evans (Britain) M-Sport World Rally Team - 14

7 Ott Taenak (Estonia) Mitsubishi - 12

8 Hayden Paddon (New Zealand) Hyundai Motorsport N - 10

9 Kris Meeke (Britain) Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 10

10 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai Shell World Rally Team - 8

11 Sebastien Loeb (France) Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team - 6

12 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Jipocar Czech National Team - 6

13 Yuriy Protasov (Ukraine) D-Max Racing - 2

TEAMS

1 Volkswagen Motorsport - 68

2 Hyundai Shell World Rally Team - 55

3 M-Sport World Rally Team - 32

4 Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 20

5 Volkswagen Motorsport II - 15

6 Jipocar Czech National Team - 10

7 FWRT - 1

8. Hyundai Motorsport N - 1