Rally Australia winner Sebastien Ogier says he is already world champion in his own mind, despite being one point short of clinching the title in Coffs Harbour.
Ogier is now all-but certain to win the championship at the next round of the series in France. His only remaining title rival Thierry Neuville must win every remaining rally and powerstage and collect a perfect 84-point score while Ogier scores nothing, if the Belgian is to overturn the Volkswagen man's 83-point advantage.
"We can say it is 99 percent done," said Ogier, who would have secured the title in Australia had Mikko Hirvonen's puncture not elevated Neuville to second on the final stage. "But in my head, honestly, I think the title is done.
"It was frustrating what happened at this rally - all of the weekend we were the virtual champion. It would have been easier if Thierry had been in second place for the whole rally, then we wouldn't have been thinking so much that we were going to [win the title].
"For me, this has been the perfect rally - we won almost every stage that mattered, except for the Mickey Mouse ones in Coffs. But OK, it's a small frustration, the only thing we cannot do is write that we are world champions."
Neuville was as surprised as anybody to know his status as a title challenger would continue beyond the weekend - but the Belgian admitted he felt for Ogier.
"I did not come here to stop his title," said Neuville. "He has driven well, he deserves it.
"For me, the focus is on staying ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala for the rest of the season and, from that side, this has been a very good rally for me."