Thursday | 15 Jul 2021

Ogier determined to keep Evans at bay

FIA World Rally Championship leader Sébastien Ogier says he is more focused on the title fight with team-mate Elfyn Evans than scoring a victory at Rally Estonia this week.

Unusually hot and dry conditions in the country mean the Yaris star is faced with sweeping the roads clean of loose gravel over eight stages on Friday.

The Frenchman currently holds a 34 point advantage over Evans halfway through the season and says that protecting his advantage over his Toyota Yaris colleague in Tartu is the main objective. 

“I know this weekend is a difficult one to win – definitely from first on the road,” mused the Frenchman.  

“Most important for me is to look [to] the guy right behind me because that’s the guy fighting with us in the championship. Priority number one is try to fight with Elfyn and try to stay ahead of him.”

“That would be a good achievement for me,” said Ogier. “I struggle to estimate how it’s going to be to open the road this weekend, so I give my best like I always do and we will see Friday night where we are and what we can fight for.”

Toyota had previously set the pace on high-speed gravel rallies before Estonia last year when Ott Tänak and Craig Breen secured an i20 1-2 for Hyundai. Ogier, who finished third in 2020, is confident that steps have been made with the car since then. 

Ogier was fifth on Thursday morning's shakedown

“I think a couple of issues were hitting us last year,” he explained. “For me, I was opening the road on day one. Kalle [Rovanperä] had some tyre issues, and definitely we’ve seen the Hyundai was strong on this ground last year.

“But I’m very positive we have improved since last year and the team have been working hard, so at least I feel even better in the car. I have also more experience with the car, so I think the car is good,” he added. 

  • Full coverage from Rally Estonia is available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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