Ogier wants just one thing: to be victorious
When Malcolm Wilson told me he’d convinced Sebastien Ogier to join M-sport at the end of 2016, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ll be honest, I thought Volkswagen’s superstar would stay for a season, be beaten, then beat a hasty retreat to circuit racing or the life of a stay-at-home dad. How wrong I was. How little the material things actually mattered to the man from Gap.
The last two years have shown Ogier for what he is: a straightforward, flat-out competitor who wants for just one thing: to win.
The Ogier we see at M-sport these days is more relaxed and more comfortable than I think he’s ever been. Sure, the competition’s closer and that brings more stress, but his way of working with the Cumbrians is so strong, so solid. And soon, so yesterday. Talking to Ogier during his pre-rally GB test in Aberhirnant on Sunday, his frustrations were abundantly clear. There’s no doubt, Citroen will be a genuine adventure and the chance to go home to a French team as a proud Frenchman is great; winning with a third manufacturer would be an amazing effort. I get all of that. But still, I take you back to his words after winning a fifth world title in Wales last year.
“What is beautiful for me is my emotion,” he said. “When I finished that last stage… I can’t explain, but in this short period of time, I have the strongest emotion I ever had in rallying. I don’t know why it was like this, why I felt like this. But I am happy I got this emotion, I’m happy this sport can still make me feel like this.”
He got that emotion because he and M-sport had battled against the odds and won. And if Ford had only put its hand in its pocket, more wins, more titles and more global glory would surely have followed. And that success would genuinely mean something to the mass market. Ogier wins in a Ford Fiesta, a car of the people.
What a shame the Blue Oval couldn’t trust in Henry’s own philosophy of winning on Sunday and selling on Monday.