Ogier determined to fight

Sébastien Ogier has vowed to keep the pressure on title rival Thierry Neuville after falling further behind the Belgian in the race for the WRC title at ADAC Rallye Deutschland.

The defending champion had a frustrating time on Germany’s asphalt stages as a smashed wheel on the Panzerplatte test on Saturday afternoon dropped him from second to ninth.

He did win Sunday’s Live TV Power Stage as he recovered to claim fourth at the finish, but Neuville’s second place allowed the Hyundai Motorsport driver to extend his championship lead by a further two points. The gap between both drivers now stands at 23 points with four events remaining.

“Thanks to the Power Stage, we scored 17 valuable points, which saved our weekend to some extent. Even if the points gap in the championship didn't change the right way for us, we still have our chance and we are determined to keep up the fight,” Ogier explained.

The M-Sport World Rally Team driver said he didn't have any choice other than to stop and change the damaged wheel on his Fiesta, despite knowing the time loss would effectively end his fight for the rally lead.

Ogier is now 23 points behind Neuville in the championship

“We all know Panzerplatte is a bit of a lottery and this weekend unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” he said. “We immediately realised that the fight for first place was over, because there were still 32 km to run: it was impossible to go on like that, we had to stop.”

Despite missing out on a podium, the five-time champion said he was happy with his car’s improved performance in Germany – three weeks after he finished a distant fifth at Neste Rally Finland.

“We were driving a good race and the performance was back on track after a difficult rally in Finland. We are happy with the work done together with the whole team this weekend.

“Nevertheless, things didn't turn out in our favour and this stopped us from getting a good result, so it's a frustrating outcome,” he said.


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