Ogier put ego aside in Greece to focus on WRC title race

Sebastien Ogier says he put “his ego aside” to produce a “clever” drive at the Acropolis Rally to focus on his quest for an eighth World Rally Championship title.

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

The factory Toyota driver was in contention for victory after Friday, sitting 3.9s behind leader Kalle Rovanpera, having opened the road on the gravel stages, before settling for third 1m11.3s shy of his winning Toyota team-mate at the finish.

Ogier revealed he elected to focus on protecting a podium position for the remainder of the event once title rivals Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville were significantly delayed by gearbox and power steering issues respectively on Friday.

The decision was helped by Rovanpera’s stunning pace which would have required significant risks being undertaken to attempt to catch the runaway leader.

Ogier admitted it was difficult to witness Rovanpera and Hyundai’s Ott Tanak pushing hard, but is relieved to finish third and extend his championship lead to 44 points over Evans.

"It has been my strategy all weekend," said Ogier, when asked about his decision to protect third position.

"I think we had a very strong start on Friday opening the road and we were very close to the lead which was much better than expected, but then on Saturday morning we started with the correct rhythm I would say.

"But all these sections were where we struggled with the visibility on the recce. I stayed too much in my comfort zone and I lost quite a lot of time in all the tricky more slippery sections I would say.

"At the same time Kalle was just flying and Ott was also really fast, and of course with what happened to Thierry and Elfyn on day one we had to be clever and I had to put my ego aside and say, "just let them go and not worry'.

"Even if that is not the most enjoyable sometimes I think I did a very clever race. I think it is a very positive step for the championship."

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Reflecting on the event, Ogier said it had been “super exhausting” as crews were up late each night watching videos of stage routes after heavy rain and fog earlier in the week had made making pacenotes on the recce difficult.

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“I’m happy to reach the end of the weekend It has been super exhausting,” added Ogier.

“I’m not used to watching so much video like the young guys, but I had to do it as the recce was so difficult with the visibility and grip, you had to confirm it[the stage conditions] on the video.

“The nights were pretty short so I think I will sleep well.”

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