Tuesday | 14 Jul 2015

WRC Master meets Grandmaster

Sébastien Ogier has done his bit to unite the disparate worlds of motorsport and board games by taking Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen for a spin in his Polo R World Rally Car.

Carlsen, from Norway, is number one in the world rankings of the World Chess Federation FIDE and, at 24 years old, is the youngest person ever to hold the position.

He's also a huge motorsport fan, and was invited by Volkswagen to join double World Champion Ogier at the company's test track in Ehra-Lessien, Germany, to try out Julien Ingrassia's seat in the 318 hp Polo.

After a high-speed blast around the track, and some sideways driving on the handling course, Carlsen was impressed: "It's fantastic how Sébastien masters his car and flings it around the corners," he said.

"Chess and rallying have more in common than you would think. They both require utmost concentration and precision. And you always have to look two steps ahead."

"I was delighted to meet Magnus," said Ogier. "He is a great guy and a really interesting personality. As Chess World Champion, naturally he has an incredible memory.

"It's crazy what Magnus can keep in his head. In the cockpit I noticed that he was really enjoying himself. I bet he could recite entire special stages after the 'recce' without even looking at the pace notes."

Ogier is becoming the go-to guy for celebrities who want to experience the WRC. Last month he took MotoGP star Andrea Dovizioso for a drive in Sardinia, while in January he gave Hollywood actor Idris Elba rally driving tips on the Monaco F1 circuit. Last December he took Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr for a flat-out ride around the Montserrat mountain near Barcelona.

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