THOUSANDS of spectators lined this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB route on the Shropshire border to watch reigning world champion Sebastian Ogier on the way to another win.

Ogier enjoyed a fantastic stage on Saturday around Myherin, Hafren and Newtown – right on the English border – which would help propel the five-time World Rally Championship titlist to victory.

Going into the event, Toyota’s Estonian Ott Tanak was riding the crest of a wave after three wins on the trot, making the title fight a three-horse race with Ogier and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.

After Friday’s stage, the rally arrived at the borders with Tanak opening up a 29-second lead over second-placed Neuville, with Jari Matti Latvala in third and Ogier battling up to fifth spot despite a gearbox issue.

Saturday was the longest day of the rally with crews on the road for more than 15 hours and heavy overnight rain had made conditions very slippery.

Tanak continued to dominate, but just when Neuville looked to attack the Estonian, he slid off the road in Hafren and needed the assistance of spectators to get him back on.

The incident saw the Belgian lose 51 seconds and drop to eighth – and Ogier was the man to take advantage, climbing from fifth to second during the stage’s morning section.

But it was the second run through Hafren that turned the rally on its head, when Tanak hit a rut in the Sweet Lamb section of the stage with such force that it broke the sump guard and forced him to retire.

Frenchman Ogier hit the front and, going into Sunday’s final leg, held a four-second lead, which he extended in the finale to triumph by 10.6 seconds ahead of Latvala.

Lappi finished third, Ireland’s Craig Breen fourth and Neuville fifth. The top British driver was Gus Greensmith in 11th.