Ogier to keep aero upgrade
Sébastien Ogier will keep faith with his Ford Fiesta’s dramatic new aerodynamic package at this month’s WRC encounter in Germany despite a below par performance last weekend.
He struggled for pace at Neste Rally Finland and needed help from team-mates Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen, who both deliberately conceded time, to finish a disappointed fifth.
Ogier made constant changes to the car’s set-up in a bid to unlock the missing pace but did not come to terms with the revised rear bumper and diffuser, aimed at providing increased downforce on the smooth gravel forest roads.
Speculation suggested Ogier might revert to the previous generation of aero for the asphalt ADAC Rallye Deutschland (16 - 19 August) while the new unit underwent further development, but his M-Sport Ford engineers confirmed he would keep the new package.
Ogier also used new Sachs shock absorbers for the first time in Finland instead of the usual Reiger suspension. However, it has never been in the team’s development plan to use the new dampers on asphalt this season.
Neither Evans nor Suninen carried the new upgrades in Finland and the squad failed to set a fastest time in the four-day event.
“We expected to be better than that. Last year the car was performing well in Finland. Every member of the team set a fastest time and it looked like the package was OK, but I was surprised this year,” Ogier told wrc.com.
“It looks like it was the slowest of all. There was not much to do. We have to try to analyse why it was like this.”
Despite his struggles, Ogier cut the deficit to 21 points to championship leader Thierry Neuville, who endured an even worse rally.
“That’s the only positive we can take out of this weekend. That’s still the main target so if there has to be a lot of negatives, at least I will still take this one because it was important to score more points than Thierry.
“Six points back in the championship is good. We take it but, of course, it’s still a disappointing performance that we did not have any speed the whole weekend,” Ogier added.
Finland Debrief: Part One
We look back at the eighth round of the WRC
Neuville relieved by minimal points loss
Belgian’s championship lead reduced after Finland struggle
Østberg podium crucial to career
Citroën driver exceeds expectations in Finland