Monday | 30 Jun 2014

Ogier: ‘Equal conditions made the difference'

Sébastien Ogier left Mikolajki by helicopter yesterday afternoon for the first flight of his mid-season holiday reflecting on the tactics that earned him a 21st WRC rally win.

Victory at LOTOS 71st Rally Poland, his fifth of the season, extended his championship lead to 50 points. Like his victory in Italy earlier this month, it came after driving the opening leg first in the start order and sweeping slippery loose sand from the road surface.

The difference in Poland was that the opening leg lasted two days rather than one and team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen pushed him hard during both.

“I knew from being first on the road on Thursday and Friday that staying in contact with the lead was the priority,” said Ogier. “On Saturday the conditions were equal and I knew that by carrying a lot of speed I could make a difference.

“In the end it paid off and it was a bigger gap than I thought because of Andreas’ problems in the last stage with his brakes. On Sunday I could relax.”

Ogier takes a 50-point advantage into the summer break

The Volkswagen Polo R pilot admitted he was lucky to escape a flat out moment on Saturday morning at a corner which caught out several others.

“We were thinking it was almost flat and in those conditions it wasn’t flat at all. It was a long corner which tightened more than we expected and we had a sideways moment in sixth gear. It was a close call,” he explained.

With six rounds remaining, Ogier acknowledged his points advantage over second-placed team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala puts him in a strong position.

“This was a good step for my championship and it’s more than I expected,” he said. “My target was to maintain the lead and we extended it quite a lot. We have a 50-point advantage, that’s two victories, with six races to go and it looks good in my race to the second title.”

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