Wed 15 May 2024

Ogier welcomes Portugal positivity after record sixth win

For seven years, Sébastien Ogier's focus on Vodafone Rally de Portugal revolved around the number five. That changed last week.

After scoring his first ever World Rally Championship win in Portugal in 2010, the Frenchman went on to win Europe’s westernmost event four times in five years. His fifth success came in 2017, moving him to the top of the roster with Markku Alén.

Like all drivers, Ogier always wants to win – but there was also something about five.

“I had,” he said, “nothing against being tied on five wins for a few years with Markku Alén because for me he’s a legend and I have huge respect for him. But I’ve been asked many times when I was going to take the record and now finally it happened.”

Ogier's success in Matosinhos followed a remarkable triumph in Croatia and elevated his career win tally to 60. His parents were present in Portugal to share the moment with him after a challenging time for personal reasons.

“I’m sure my mum and my dad always enjoy this and cherish these moments,” he smiled. “They are very proud of this and I am happy to offer them [the win] this time.

“It’s been a bit of a tough year for my family since we lost the brother of my mum. He was the one who started my motorsport career, so it’s nice to have some positivity after a few difficult months.”

Contesting a part program with Toyota, Ogier admitted the numbers and the wins still mean a lot.

He added: “To take another win feels great. It’s nice to achieve some more cool numbers and I have to enjoy and cherish these moments. It was another intense fight for everyone to follow and for us in the car there was no moment to relax.

“I think the way we managed everything was close to perfect. We could always stay in contention for the win without taking maximum risk when it didn’t feel 100 per cent.”

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