Defending world rally champion Sebastien Ogier has given a blunt assessment of the incident that cost him the lead of Rally Sweden today.
The Volkswagen ace began the day 5.8sec clear at the top of the leaderboard, but emerged from Friday’s opening stage in 20th place, having lost 4m30s when his Polo R got stuck in a snow bank.
“It was not the day we expected, of course, but I can just blame myself,” said Ogier, who claimed his first victory with Volkswagen here last year. “I did a stupid mistake. I was in the perfect position to win the rally but I was not concentrating enough on the first stage and it wasn’t forgiving.”
Ogier’s time loss left the way clear for his team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen to fight for the lead. Ogier meanwhile set a string of stage-winning times in the afternoon to try and salvage some points from the rally
“I’m stupid. I did the difficult bit yesterday from first on the road and today I just had to drive. But I made a simple mistake. It’s a lesson learned for the future - to be really concentrated,” he said.
By SS15 Ogier had fought back to 10th position, and he will start SS16 just 2.4sec adrift of Elfyn Evans in ninth.