Sebastien Ogier reignited his bid for World Rally Championship title glory by fending off the spirited challenge of Dani Sordo’s Banbury-built Mini to take a deserved victory on the final day of the Rally of France.

Second place for Sordo gave the Oxfordshire Mini team their best result on their comeback WRC campaign, while Petter Solberg's privateer Citroen was third.

Sordo was far from deflated after missing out on victory by a narrow margin.

The result marked the Spaniard's second podium in three races following his third place in Germany, and he said: "Two rallies on tarmac and two podiums is amazing and feels like a victory.

"It's an incredible result, very nice and in the end I am very happy."

With championship leader Sebastien Loeb out of the equation following his retirement with an engine failure on Friday, his Citroen team-mate Ogier took full advantage to close to within three points of the seven-time champion at the summit.

Ford's Mikko Hirvonen is also just three points behind Loeb heading into the final two rounds of the season in Catalunya and Great Britain after he came home in fourth place.

Ogier's first season with the factory Citroen team has been a stellar one, the former Junior Citroen driver now boasting five WRC wins in 2011.

He was made to scrap all the way for this latest victory, seeing off the determined challenge of both Sordo and Solberg. All three harboured realistic victory hopes following Loeb's first retirement of the campaign on stage three, but Solberg suffered a setback yesterday when a puncture dropped him back.

That left Ogier and Sordo to scrap it out, with the Frenchman getting his lead up to nearly 10 seconds last night. Sordo halved that advantage over today's opening three stages, but Ogier regrouped to win by 6.3secs.

Elsewhere, Jari-Matti Latvala finished just four seconds behind Ford team-mate Hirvonen to take fifth place, while Dennis Kuipers (FERM Ford) was sixth ahead of Stobart Ford duo Henning Solberg and Mads Ostberg.