OGIER READY TO DOMINATE IN GERMANY
German Tarmac brings running order debacle to an end
Friday morning can’t come soon enough for Sebastien Ogier. He’s got a point to prove.
Since starting the season with back-to-back wins, the reigning World Rally champion has been made to pay for his success. Forcing him first on the road for 10 of the last 15 days of gravel rallying means he hasn’t topped the podium since Karlstad. In February. Not that he’ll admit as much, he doesn’t just want to win this week’s Rally Germany, he wants to dominate it.
He’ll be keen to show all those pretenders to his crown just what happens when he shows up to a gunfight… with a gun. The level playing field he has craved for months is here. Now watch him go.
Talking just hours after watching Kris Meeke join him as the only driver to win two WRC rounds this season, the Frenchman said: “If we had one reason to celebrate on Sunday evening, it was the end of this series of six gravel rallies –which we started knowing we didn’t have the slightest chance of winning. Mentally speaking, it will do us good to go into the next rallies knowing that we can really fight for victory from the front. That doesn’t mean I’m saying we’ll win; it’s never easy in the WRC – far from it! But I can’t wait for the start in Germany and I hope we’ll be fighting it out with the best of them. I am highly motivated and very keen to repeat the success of last year.”
Ogier will be looking to pick up where he left off in Trier 12 months ago. The Gap driver scored stage wins on 14 of the 21 tests and was only out of the top two times on four occasions. In short, he controlled the rally from start to finish – and did so under the extreme pressure of needing to land VW’S first win at home following its two previous disastrous outings.
“Testing in the run-up [to the event] went really well,” said Ogier. “Making the change from gravel to asphalt was quick and without issue. We had a mix of sunshine and a few showers, so we were able to try out the various set-up versions for the Polo R WRC – and Michelin’s new wet tyres. That could play a role since the stages are extremely tough in wet weather and errors are punished without mercy. Rally Germany is Volkswagen’s home event, so the whole team wants to deliver a particularly good performance in front of the fans.”
Ogier wants to be the first driver to win three rallies in 2016, he wants to extend his lead at the top of the table, but more than anything, he wants to exert the kind of power and control which carried him to 25 wins in 39 starts in his first three years with Volkswagen.
And his record in Germany is strong: he won the Junior WRC category on his first ever Trier outing in 2008, finished on the podium on his first time in a World Rally Car and took outright success at only his third attempt in 2011, beating then teammate Sebastien Loeb.
Ogier ended VW’S home victory drought in 2015