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Thu 27 Apr 2023

Ogier confirms Italy as next WRC outing

Sébastien Ogier will give his WRC rivals the opportunity to get one step ahead by missing next month’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal, instead returning to action at Rally Italia Sardegna in June.

Ogier, who drives part-time for Toyota Gazoo Racing, shares the championship lead with team-mate Elfyn Evans despite only competing in three out of four rallies so far this year.

With the Frenchman not in action in Portugal, his focus switches to Rally Italia Sardegna (1 - 4 June) - an event he has won four times previously and one which he confirmed to WRC.com on Sunday afternoon will form part of his programme this year.

Ogier’s Portuguese absence means he is likely to drop a few positions in the drivers’ championship, therefore giving the potential for a more favourable starting position on Italy’s loose gravel roads. That, he says though, had nothing to do with his choice.

“This has already been a long plan,” he told WRC.com. “It’s not something which is decided day by day or now, it’s something which we had already in mind since the beginning of the year.

“Sardinia was a tough rally for the team last year, so that was always the plan that I try to join to help there. It’s nothing which is decided now because of [the Croatia] result or anything like that, it’s something we decided early on.”

Eight-time world champion Ogier delivered another strong performance in Croatia, leading the event and winning more stages than anybody else. However, a heavy compression on the second stage cost him a minute and a half and he could only climb back to fifth place. 

“It wasn’t my weekend,” he said, “but I guess it’s part of motorsport sometimes. Of course, we had much more in the tank, but it didn’t work out and somehow we have to put this weekend behind us and come back for another event with the aim to do better."