It was a bittersweet end to the WRC season in Australia, as everyone knew that the quadruple championship-winning Volkswagen Motorsport would not return for the next season. Its drivers, all—as far as we know—without a WRC seat next year were racing for their lives as they looked for employment next year.

In  the end, Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen’s young gun put on the best performance racing his way to victory at the Kennards Hire Rally Australia, with his championship-winning teammate, Sebastien Ogier, behind him in second.


Although Mikkelsen eventually won the race by a healthy 14 seconds, it was by no means an easy victory.

With a healthy lead on Saturday, Mikkelsen’s brake pedal twisted and fixing it cost him nine seconds. With that, Ogier was back on his tail and drawing him in.

Unfortunately, Ogier made a rare mistake on the last day of competition, spinning the car and dashing his hopes of catching his Norwegian teammate.

Rally Australia 2016

“What a fantastic weekend, and what a wonderful result at the end of our season,” said Mikkelsen after the race. “Today has been a very special day, as it was our last appearance as a team. I was so desperate to win this rally for Volkswagen.”

It wasn’t all elation for the race winner, though. As his excitement subsided, sadness reared its head.

“It’s just sad to see all this nice team and car come to an end,” Mikkelsen told reporters after the race. “I told [my co-driver] in the car in the stage that ‘Wow, I will miss this team and this car.’ Very sad.”

Rally Australia 2016

Jari-Matti Latvala, meanwhile, considered one of the quickest drivers in WRC today, but for his tendency to occasionally hit race-ending obstacles, ended the rally as he so often did, trying to salvage a result after hitting—this time—a bridge.

And so, after 13 races, nine Volkswagen race victories (at least one for each driver), and a team championship, the 2016 WRC season ends and with it Volkswagen’s WRC team.

Ogier handily won the drivers’ championship—more than 100 points ahead of the second place Thierry Neuville—while Mikkelsen took third, missing second place in the drivers’ rankings by just four points. Latvala, meanwhile finished the season in sixth place.

Rally Australia 2016