OGIER

BE­GINS ANEWWRC CHAP­TER

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - By David Evans

Se­bastien Ogier said good­bye to his “best boss ever” in M-sport’s Mal­colm Wil­son last week and now turns his at­ten­tion to mak­ing more World Rally Cham­pi­onship his­tory with Citroen.

The French­man will aim to be­come just the sec­ond driver ever to win world ti­tles with three dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers next sea­son – and he starts that chal­lenge hav­ing learned plenty from M-sport.

“You are al­ways learn­ing in this sport,” Ogier told MN, “and cer­tainly my time at M-sport has made me stronger. I have to say thank you to them for that – and a big thank you to my friend and my best boss Mal­colm.”

Se­bastien Ogier flew out of Bri­tain fol­low­ing an emo­tional farewell to his World Rally Cham­pi­onship­win­ning M-sport team ear­lier this week, ad­mit­ting his time with the Cum­brian squad would stay in his heart for­ever.

Ogier, co-driver Julien In­gras­sia and more than 250 of the team’s staff at­tended the send-off at Dovenby Hall on Mon­day.

Ogier said: “This team and these peo­ple will al­ways be spe­cial for Julien and I. We feel now like we are part of the M-sport fam­ily and will stay like this, we will al­ways have this team close to our heart. I have to say an in­cred­i­bly big thank you to all of the guys in this team,they have been so fan­tas­tic for two years. And, of course, I want to say a spe­cial thank you to the boss. The best boss I had, to Mal­colm [Wil­son]. He made all of this pos­si­ble.”

Team prin­ci­pal Wil­son added: “I don’t know what I can say. For two years these guys have just kept on de­liv­er­ing. I wanted to bring them here so badly and they de­liv­ered on ev­ery level for us. We’ve learned a lot from them and the job for us now is to use that and to take it for­ward.”

Ogier’s fo­cus must now shift to de­vel­op­ing the Citroen C3 WRC he will drive for the next two years – the fi­nal two years – in his WRC ca­reer. Back with the French man­u­fac­turer he last com­peted with in 2011, he tested the car for the first time in Por­tu­gal last week.

“I drove only for two days,” the French­man told MN, “so it’s re­ally too early to say what is the feel­ing with the car. The one thing I can say straight away is that I didn’t dis­cover some­thing which is wor­ry­ing me, there was no bad sur­prise for me. We started to work [with the team] like I ex­pected we would, which is good.

“There are of course lots of ar­eas for us on the car to look at and this will take a bit of time: dif­fer­en­tial, for ex­am­ple, but again but my ini­tial feel­ing is not too bad and I’m sure we’ll find the right so­lu­tions quite quickly.”

Part of Ogier’s mo­ti­va­tion for the switch from M-sport to Citroen was the chance to be­come only the sec­ond driver in the sport’s his­tory to win the world cham­pi­onship with three dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers. Juha Kankkunen was the first, win­ning with Peu­geot, Lan­cia and Toy­ota. In ad­di­tion to his two ti­tles with M-sport, Ogier has four with Volk­swa­gen.

“It’s an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge,” said Ogier. “And I re­ally think there’s po­ten­tial, with the equip­ment here to write a nice story, but from here on it’s go­ing to be im­por­tant to quickly see what works and what works less well to try to feel as well pre­pared as pos­si­ble from Monte Carlo.”

Ogier, who will be back aboard a C3 WRC for a Monte Carlo test

later this month, says he will need the full sup­port of the Citroen team in his bid for a sixth con­sec­u­tive suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence.

“That’s not some­thing that you can do on your own,” he said.

Citroen team prin­ci­pal Pierre Bu­dar told MN he had bud­geted for all of Ogier’s devel­op­ment needs with the C3.

“We are com­mit­ted to have sev­eral tests of course with Se­bastien and Esapekka [Lappi, Ogier’s new team-mate] and we are also com­mit­ted to do all the nec­es­sary devel­op­ment – ev­ery­thing has been in­cluded in our bud­get for next year. We will de­velop what is nec­es­sary ac­cord­ing to what we will de­cide with them. Our first test [in Por­tu­gal] was a work­ing ses­sion to have some first guide­lines shared be­tween us.”

Bu­dar ad­mit­ted he was de­lighted to see Ogier back in the team, adding: “It’s a very nice feel­ing and also a friendly feel­ing be­cause Seb was quite in the fam­ily al­ready. Very quickly we could see this feel­ing was very nice with all of the team. He knows a few peo­ple in the team al­ready from his first pe­riod in Citroen. The feel­ing was as if he was at home and it’s very nice to see him back at home, it’s like that.”

Ogier drove his new mount for two days last week and will drive again be­fore Monte

Crew: Fond Ford mem­o­ries

Ogier was pleased after maiden run in the Citroen

Ogier fin­ished third in the points in 2011 for the Citroen team

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