Monday | 22 Nov 2021

Mixed emotions for triumphant Ogier

After eight FIA World Rally Championship wins in nine seasons, Sébastien Ogier struggled to articulate his emotions as he prepares to step back from full-time competition.

Life at the top-level of the WRC is a flurry of airports, different hotel rooms and time away from loved ones.

For perfectionists like Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia, no detail is too small to ignore. That work ethic has been the driving force behind their success at Volkswagen Motorsport, M-Sport Ford and now Toyota Gazoo Racing.

The celebrations at the finish of Sunday afternoon’s closing Wolf Power Stage at FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza were as joyous as they had been for the previous seven successes.

Video 2021 WRC champions Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia

But, as Ogier moves back from full-time competition in favour of a part-programme in the WRC’s new hybrid era and Ingrassia heads for retirement, the realisation that this really was the last time hit home.

“Definitely emotion came like a firework crossing the final line, I would say. I am super happy winning this title,” he enthused.

“But the biggest emotion today was the small one. I would like to know what Julien is thinking, but it was such a weird feeling knowing that’s it now and that is really the end now.

“We achieved much more than we were dreaming 15 years ago when we met. This scenario to end up this way is the best way possible. One more unforgettable memory that I have with Julien. Hard to describe all what we feel right now.

It was the second time in consecutive seasons that Ogier secured the WRC crown at Monza

“There is also this emptiness. All the pressure the attention and the questions and expectation, whatever. You achieve it and it’s amazing and then you feel empty a bit. It is unique days but you need also more time to appreciate the success.”

That success was thrown into doubt for a brief few moments on Sunday morning. Ogier and team-mate Elfyn Evans were separated by only half a second after two days of breathless action in the foothills of the Italian Alps and Monza circuit.

But when Ogier’s Yaris World Rally Car’s right front wheel hit a concrete barrier to send sparks flying, the WRC community held its breath to see whether Pirelli’s tyre would stay inflated.

Surviving this impact with a barrier was key to Ogier's eighth title

It did, but the chunk of rubber missing at the stage finish showed how close he came to disaster.

“It was a perfect line but almost too perfect, I would say,” Ogier admitted. “I think we had a very strong weekend. I felt under control in the car. But, especially here on the circuit, it is easy to hit something lightly. And that is what happened to us.

“Luckily we just clipped something. A metre more in and it would have been much more consequences with at least a puncture or more. That’s the luck you need to have success in sport in general. It has happened to all of us at some point.”

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