Sébastien Ogier still doesn’t understand what caused his retirement at last weekend’s Rally Turkey – a mistake that ultimately relegated him to third place in the drivers’ championship.
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver moved into the lead of the rally on Saturday morning when championship leader Thierry Neuville retired with suspension damage.
However, his hopes of streaking ahead were short-lived after he hit a double dose of trouble.
He first lost time after his Fiesta suffered suspension damage in SS9, before his bid to regain the lead ended in retirement when he slid off the road and beached his car in SS11 – an event he described as ‘one of the most silly mistakes of my career’
Ogier, 34, salvaged four points from Sunday’s Live TV Power Stage, but has now dropped 10 points behind Rally Turkey winner Ott Tänak in the drivers’ standings, while Neuville is another 13 points ahead.
Having had time to reflect on the weekend, Ogier admitted he was still struggling to explain what happened.
“I still have trouble understanding the mistake I made,” he said. “Maybe the energy I used in the morning contributed to a certain lack of lucidity, but the bottom line is that between two very tight corners I didn’t take in one of Julien’s pace notes, I braked too late and we slid into a tree at 5kph…
“After all the effort we put in during the morning to stay in the race, this was one of the most frustrating retirements we’ve ever experienced. But we won’t let it get us down and we’ll keep fighting as hard as we can to keep our chances alive.”