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.”
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.”