OGIER Ogier and Ford makes sense says...

TO MAKE DE­CI­SION THIS WEEK Cham­pion ready to com­mit to team for 2017

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Thirty-five years go, Ari Vata­nen won the World Rally Cham­pi­onship drivers’ ti­tle in a pri­vate Ford. No­body re­ally re­mem­bers it was David Sut­ton rather than Bore­ham be­hind that Roth­mans Ford Es­cort. It would be the same if Se­bastien Ogier be­came the first driver to take the ti­tle be­hind the Blue Oval next sea­son.

Ford with­drew from the WRC at the end of 2012, but to the wider world, it never left.

Ford stands its best chance ever of cel­e­brat­ing world cham­pi­onship suc­cess with an Ogier agree­ment next year – and it’s not even com­pet­ing in the series of­fi­cially.

One of Ogier’s main ri­vals told MN last week: “Ford can buy the ti­tle next sea­son. That’s what you would get with Seb.”

This is a gilt-edged op­por­tu­nity for Ford to en­joy global suc­cess, by as­so­ci­a­tion. And Ogier wants an as­so­ci­a­tion with Ford: he’s talked of his de­sire for sta­bil­ity and man­u­fac­turer con­nec­tion – driv­ing an M-sport-built Ford Fi­esta RS WRC would de­liver that.

Global glory for a fresh out of the box Fi­esta road car would of­fer Ford the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to win on Sun­day and sell on Sun­day evening. Es­pe­cially in Gap, France and the rest of the world.

There are new cars for every­body, it’s go­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing sea­son to see where is Seb go­ing and how Citroen and Toy­ota is com­ing back.”

Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo both feel Ogier will be most likely to go to Citroen.

Sordo said: “If I am him I go to Citroen, but Ogier and [Kris] Meeke in the same team? [Citroen team prin­ci­pal Yves] Mat­ton will need to be care­ful. Meeke is fast, but he is hot! He can win a lot of ral­lies, but for Kris it’s win or noth­ing – like Colin [Mcrae] and this is nice for the peo­ple.”

Neuville added Ogier’s abil­ity to chal­lenge Hyundai would de­pend on his choice of car.

“Citroen,” he said, “is the log­i­cal choice for him – even if I would like to see him in the Ford. How dif­fi­cult it will be for him de­pends on how com­pet­i­tive is the car. If the car is s**t, you can do noth­ing. He will be fast, but not fast enough.

“If I was a four-time world cham­pion, I try to sell my­self to the most com­pet­i­tive team. Him and Meeke to­gether? That would be a good ben­e­fit for me. Kris won’t like to see him com­ing there. It could be some clashes, like [Se­bastien] Loeb-ogier again, but I’m not the boss of Citroen.

“I don’t care, but I hope they wouldn’t get on well!”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.