Tuesday | 01 Jun 2021

Ogier relaxed about Sardinia road opening duties

With temperatures in Sardinia approaching 30°C and little chance of rain before the start, Sébastien Ogier has resigned himself to a second Friday of road cleaning duty in three weeks.

Such is the lot of a FIA World Rally Championship leader heading into Rally Italia Sardegna (3 - 6 June).

The difference these days is that the seven-time title winner, who performed similar duties en route to third at Vodafone Rally de Portugal last month, isn’t getting stressed about ploughing through dusty loose gravel to create a cleaner line and more grip for those behind.

He’s been in this position so many times in his career and he’s learned two things: he’s learned to drive brilliantly to stem the time loss in the loose and he’s learned that getting frustrated by the situation is not going to help.

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“I think that comes with the maturity,” said Ogier. “Now I’m definitely closer to the end of my career than to the start, which means I just leave it like it is.

“Of course, this sport is important to me – it’s always going to be important to me. But it’s not the main thing in my life. And that’s why I can close this topic and step away.”

Ogier leads Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Elfyn Evans by two points going into the Olbia-based event. And he maintains, regardless of running order for Friday’s opening day, topping the table and taking the points in his pocket are more important.

“I’m sure that Sardinia will be another demanding rally for us,” said Ogier. “But, honestly, I am happy to be leading the championship. I always try to take as many points as I can, and this will be the aim in Sardinia too.

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“The result in Portugal was positive, even though I was not so satisfied with our pace. But it was the first time driving with the new tyres on gravel, and hopefully as we gain a bit more understanding with them we can see how to extract some more performance already in this next event.”

• Full coverage from Rally Italia Sardegna will be 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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