“My career will end at the end of 2020 at Citroën “, announced Sébastien Ogier, six-time World Rally Champion (WRC) in the summer of 2019. It will not be. Faced with a truncated season – only seven races on the program because of Covid-19 -, the Gapençais pilot has decided to stack up for an additional year. “It was a shame to end my career on that”, testifies the French, who concedes to have “Struggled to enjoy” of the few contested races.
Sébastien Ogier will not end his career at Citroën either. After leaving the brand with the rafters prematurely at the end of the 2019 season, which ended in a disappointing third place, the Haut-Alpin joined the manufacturer Toyota in early 2020. It will therefore be driving the Toyota Yaris again for the year. next, whatever the outcome of the last rally, which takes place from December 3 to 6 on the Monza circuit (Italy).
Between Sébastien Ogier and the Japanese manufacturer, no ignition delay. The French today claims to have “All the elements for further success” : a team with which he says he feels ” well “ and “A high-performance car in the hands”.
At Toyota, the Gapençais aims for a seventh title with a third different manufacturer (after Volkswagen and M-Sport): a performance realized only by the Finnish Juha Kankkunen with Peugeot in 1986, with Lancia in 1987 and in 1991, and with Toyota in 1993. But the high-alpine pilot does not make an obsession: “Finishing on a title would be perfect, but that’s not what guides my decision to continue or to retire, he explains. I am already very happy with the progress made during my career. “
“Worn out by travel and calendar”
Nor is his decision motivated by winning the four titles he needs to become the most successful WRC driver in history. A record held since 2012 by another Frenchman, Sébastien Loeb, nine-time world champion.
“The timing of the end of my career has been fixed for a long time. The reasons are family. After all these years, I am worn out by travel, by the calendar ”, recalls Sébastien Ogier, present on the WRC circuit since 2010.
The interruption of the 2020 season in March, in the middle of the rally in Mexico, and the cut of almost six months (the championship resumed on September 4 in Estonia) which followed will have allowed him to recharge his batteries. Confined in Switzerland with his wife, the German journalist Andrea Kaiser, Sébastien Ogier was able to devote himself to his son, Tim, now four years old. “ I take advantage of it, I don’t often have the opportunity to spend so much time with him! “, he confided in early April to The team. Between two bike trips – Switzerland has not applied the rule of the kilometer not to be exceeded around the home – the father of the family took advantage “Simple things”.
Its lightened Swiss confinement will also have enabled it to “Relativize”. “Beyond the sporting aspect, it has been a very difficult year for a lot of people, continues Mr. Ogier. Of course, I was disappointed to have fewer races, but above all I was happy to be in good health. “
After spending long months ” at home “, the six-time world champion comes to Italy for the last round of the season more determined than ever to hang a seventh title on his record – Sébastien Ogier is fourteen points behind his teammate, Elfyn Evans, leader of the championship. Answer Sunday on the asphalt of the Monza autodrome.
WRC rally: the world title is played on the asphalt of Monza
“I hope that we will be able to find a system that works to do some shopping at the end of the year. All, of course not, but at least some ”, Sébastien Ogier said to The team in April, when the World Rally Championship (WRC) had been at a standstill for a few weeks due to Covid-19. The French driver’s wish was granted, six months after his victory in Rally Mexico. The season resumed in Estonia at the beginning of September, and, after the cancellation of the Ypres rally (Belgium), will find its epilogue on Sunday 6 December in Monza, Italy.
During the sixteen special stages on the menu, the crews compete on the national autodrome of Monza (as well as all around), temple of speed in Formula 1. “I like when it’s new and you have to adapt as quickly as possible. It’s a bit the character of the rally ”, Sébastien Ogier enthusiastically on the eve of a battle in Italy. The Frenchman, who is fourteen points behind in the general classification over Welshman Elfyn Evans, his teammate in the Toyota team, and ten ahead of the Belgian driver of the Hyundai team, Thierry Neuville, has promised to “Fight to the end”.