Ogier: 2018 talks on hold
Sébastien Ogier has paused negotiations about his WRC future after admitting the process is moving more slowly than expected.
The defending champion is nearing the end of his one-year deal with M-Sport and had hoped to have his 2018 plans sorted by this weekend's RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España.
But with interest confirmed from Citroën and M-Sport, and rumours in Spain of a third bid from Hyundai, Ogier has put 2018 talks on hold temporarily so he can focus on the upcoming rally.
"I hoped to have made a decision by now but it's not easy for anyone," Ogier said. "We are all dependant on big groups, or manufacturers, which don't take decisions very quickly, and that is making the discussions quite long. Let's say this ping-pong exchange is going slower than expected."
"This week I have things on my mind that are even more important. I need to focus on the rally, I need to achieve a good result and I want to make one more step towards my next title. And that's what matters the most right now."
As he gears up for this week's mixed surface encounter in Spain, Ogier emphasised next year's decision would be driven by championship-winning potential.
"I want to continue to be competitive, that's the main thing," he explained.
"That's why I explore the options, I have to see where I can be the most competitive - and for that you need a good car, good people around you and strong motivation to achieve it."
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson backed Ogier's decision to concentrate on the title fight.
"Seb wanted to get things sorted before the rally, but a week ago we decided to stop discussing it because he wanted to concentrate on this event," Wilson told wrc.com.
"In terms of our negotiations, nothing has changed in the six-week break. Right now he's committed to trying to win the championship."
Wilson also said it was too early to say if Ford's recent decision to end its World Rallycross programme at the end of the year would boost his chances of retaining Ogier.
"We are still in regular discussion with Ford, and obviously they are looking at a new strategy going forward, but there is nothing that I can say about what they are planning to do with the funds that were used in WRX," he said.
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