Wednesday | 24 Mar 2021

Ogier relaxed about early championship progress

Seven-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier says he’s not losing any sleep about not leading the title race after two rounds of the championship.

The Toyota star made a perfect start to the season and bagged 30 points with an impressive drive at Rallye Monte-Carlo. However, his advantage was then lost when he crashed into a snowbank and retired on the second day of Arctic Rally Finland last month. 

Despite returning to pick up a single Wolf Power Stage bonus point on the final day, Ogier’s difficult Lapland outing left him third in the standings, nine points down on team-mate Kalle Rovanperä.

With the middle of the season loaded with a handful of gravel rallies, Ogier is feeling relaxed about the whole situation.

“The season is long,” said Ogier, “and with these [running order] rules and a lot of gravel rallies coming, there’s no point in leading the championship right now.”

The Frenchman lost his championship lead after an off at Arctic Rally Finland

Next month’s Croatia Rally is, of course, a Tarmac round, but following the Zagreb-based event, the loose surface challenges in Portugal, Italy and Kenya come in quick succession. 

Running first on the road – at least on the Matosinhos-based Rally Portugal and on the island of Sardinia – often comes as a disadvantage, with the series leader sweeping loose gravel aside to make a faster line for those behind.

Ogier continued: “The Arctic was a bit disappointing. We are used to it [being a handicap to run first on the road] in Sweden, but in Finland I was hoping to have better conditions. We took risks on the first day and even with those risks we were sixth. I have no regrets, I tried and I gave it everything.

“Now I’m looking forward to Croatia. It’s back to a more normal length rally which is good – I enjoy every kilometre I drive in the Toyota. It’s really good fun to be in this car and Croatia’s going to be good with something new for everybody.”