He's done the triple, securing the drivers' title in 2013, 2014 and 2015, now in a special Christmas message Sébastien Ogier has ignited his 2016 bid for a fourth crown.
The Frenchman joined his Volkswagen team-mates at a test in France this week, in preparation for the season opening Rallye Monte-Carlo (21 to 24 January). At the same time, Volkswagen released a festive movie showing Ogier indulging in some Ken Block-style stunt-driving and lighting a candle with the back of his Polo R WRC. Trust us, it's worth a look [video below].
The candle stands next to three others, and the description mades things crystal clear: 'He’s done the triple. Now, it’s time for Sébastien Ogier to do four in a row.'
Work to achieve that goal began with a six-day test on the outskirts of Gap in the French Alps, where Volkswagen's three driver pairings Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen and new co-driver Anders Jæger completed around 1000 kilometres.
Each crew drove for two days on roads around the Col de Perty near the town of Laborel, and trialled set-up variants for the Polo R WRC and various combinations of the Michelin tyres to be used next year.
Despite a lack of snow, which is usually a feature of the opening round, team principal Jost Capito believes his squad is ready for the upcoming challenge. However he is not underestimating the strength of his rivals.
"For the third time in a row, we go into the season as the team to beat, and we will be up against stronger opponents than before: Hyundai has a new car, while M-Sport-Ford has strengthened its squad of drivers and co-drivers. As such, we go into the season with heightened senses – and, thanks to the tests, with sufficient experience for the Monte,” he said.
Fancy winning some money-can't-buy Volkswagen WRC memorabilia? Visit wrc.com on Sunday 27 December for details of our latest competition. Andreas Mikkelsen fans especially will not want to miss this...