Wednesday | 22 Mar 2023

Full circle: How Ogier controlled Mexico win

A win at Guanajuato Rally México is always that little bit more special for Sébastien Ogier – it’s where his journey began. And last week’s record-breaking seventh success was another classic for Toyota’s Frenchman.

Nobody has ever doubted Ogier’s speed on any event and he demonstrated that in bucketloads last week, but he also demonstrated a ruthless ability to control proceedings.

Esapekka Lappi was 5.3 seconds ahead on Friday night. Once the Hyundai driver went off the road, Ogier was near enough half a minute ahead of his team-mate Elfyn Evans.

Thirty seconds in Mexico is a defendable lead. Just. But it’s by no means comfortable.

Yet Ogier managed to look comfortable.

Talking through his approach to the event, he said: “To be honest, on day one, I focused on myself.

“I knew that with my starting position [fifth on the road] I had a good package to be competitive. Honestly, I stayed calm and I saw the time of Esapekka [Lappi] and I knew the most important thing was to focus on myself and have a good clean day.

“He was faster, but, still, at this moment, I talk with Vincent [Landais, co-driver] and I said to him: “Well, I don’t think we should change our approach because there is still a long way to go…”

“I wanted to control well in the car and do more. Unfortunately, he went off on the first stage of the morning on Saturday. I did not enjoy that because I wanted to carry on this fight. I was a team-mate with him and I appreciate him. It is a shame it happened like this but that is rallying.

Ogier dedicates Mexico win to late friend and trainer

Ogier dedicates Mexico win to late ...

Sébastien Ogier has dedicated his seventh Guanajuato Rally México victory to his late friend and trainer, Tim Lobinger, who ...

Read More

“At this moment, of course, my approach changed even more. We became more cautious, but I still had to keep the rhythm because the other guys were not far behind and it was very easy to quickly lose time.

“I think we managed it very well, but I was fearing that Sunday, I knew for me, it was the toughest loop of the weekend with the longest stage to go through. I just started to feel a bit more relaxed when we crossed the finish line on this one.”

A couple more stages done and he was a Mexican record-breaker.

Best of Action - Guanajuato Rally México 2023