Friday | 01 Jul 2022

Ogier relishes role as Toyota team player

Reigning world champion Sébastien Ogier has lauded his Toyota Gazoo Racing team for its 1-2-3-4 result at Safari Rally Kenya last weekend.

It was a case of role reversal for the part-time Yaris driver. When a late puncture on Friday derailed all hopes of a repeat Safari win, Ogier’s focus turned to bringing up the rear of the Yaris quartet. 

After almost a decade as a lead driver, that role must have felt slightly alien to Ogier. But the Frenchman played his part well and believes he met all the targets set by Toyota team bosses. 

“Every time I come, I want to enjoy myself and fight for the top positions,” he told WRC.com. ‘Obviously this weekend after the puncture, there was no real chance to fight for the win or the podium. 

“I think I reached 100 per cent the targets, especially on Sunday. There are never team orders at Toyota, but on Sunday morning there were some words to say, ‘guys, we trust you, but please bring this home’.

Ogier brought home more solid points for Toyota

“That was our main target. We didn’t push too hard, and we just kept a reasonable distance to stay safe.  

“I want to remember this rally as a fantastic performance for Toyota,” he continued. “It’s an amazing thing to achieve all four cars in the top places here on the toughest challenge of the season, so I put my heart out to all the guys. They deserve a big round of applause.”

Ogier was also full of praise for his GR Yaris team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, who took the win as well as extending his championship lead to 65 points. 

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“Kalle is absolutely faultless,” he beamed. "At the moment, there is absolutely nothing to say apart from to tell him well done.

“On top of that, he has the luck of the champion at the moment. Every champion has had that at some point in their career, and everything his going well for him.  

“He is managing everything perfectly and he is in a good position for the championship right now.”

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