Wilson: ‘Ogier won’t give up fight'
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team boss Malcolm Wilson says his squad must perform at its maximum if Sébastien Ogier is going to overhaul Thierry Neuville in the race for the 2018 drivers’ title.
After losing out on a fourth victory of the season by less than a second at last month’s Rally Italia Sardegna, reigning champion Ogier trails Hyundai driver Neuville by 27 points.
With six round of the championship remaining, Wilson is confident Ogier can take the fight to his Belgian rival as he bids to seal his sixth WRC title.
“We saw last year, and having worked with Thierry as well, how strong and competitive he [Neuville] is going to be,” Wilson explained. “At the moment, he’s got a good lead. But the one thing about Sébastien is that he knows how to win championships.
“We certainly won’t be giving up and I know he’s not giving up at this point in time. We just need to make sure that everyone does everything at 100 per cent."
Ogier will be hoping he can strike back at Neuville during the upcoming Neste Rally Finland (26-29 July) – a rally he failed to finish last year when suspension damage caused him to crash in the Jukojärvi stage.
But with upgrades planned to be introduced on the Ford Fiesta in time for the rally, Wilson is confident of a strong result.
“We’ve got a good test planned and as long as it goes well, we’ve got some improvements coming to the car. Okay Sébastien had a problem there last year but our cars were very competitive in the hands of Elfyn [Evans] and Teemu [Suninen] so I don’t see any reason why we can’t really perform very well there,” he said.
Ogier will start the Scandinavian event in the unfamiliar position of being the second competitor on the road. Wilson conceded the Finnish weather will determine whether that is an advantage or not
He said: “I think if we have hot and sunny weather in Finland then it will be a big advantage for him not to be the first car on the road. But as we saw in Sardinia, we didn’t get that advantage because of the rain.”
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