Ogier: Relief to reach finish of “crazy” WRC Safari Rally

Sebastien Ogier admitted it was a relief just to reach the finish of a punishing Safari Rally after extending his World Rally Championship lead with victory in Kenya.

Ogier: Relief to reach finish of “crazy” WRC Safari Rally

The seven-time world champion completed an unlikely comeback to win one of rallying’s most iconic events on its return to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2002.

PLUS: How WRC's Safari adventure ended in a familiar tale

Although much shorter than its marathon predecessors, Kenya provided the WRC arguably one of its toughest rallies as crews tackled tricky gravel and sandy roads, unpredictable wildlife and wild weather.

Ogier was among a lucky few to recover from his brush with the harsh terrain, fighting back from dropping two and half minutes on Friday after a suspension issue.

The Frenchman was there to pounce after long time rally leader Thierry Neuville retired on Sunday before catching and passing Toyota team-mate Takamoto Katsuta to win the rally by 21.8s.

Reflecting on his victory in an event where only five WRC crews completed the full distance, Ogier admitted he was relieved to make the finish after seeing his rivals fall by the wayside.

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

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

Photo by: Toyota Racing

“This last stage was very challenging with very soft conditions and you are never sure if you will get rocks in the line. I definitely didn’t push on this one I just wanted to finish it,” said Ogier.

Read Also:

“It was a relief after such a crazy weekend. I think everyone predicted a bit of an entertaining weekend and it definitely delivered, so many things happened.

“We struggled quite early on in this race but from this moment I think we have done a great job and kept pushing all of the time and kept getting closer to the top.

“I was not thinking I would be stepping on the podium and winning this rally but at the end never giving up always works in rallying and more here in Africa.”

The win was Ogier fourth from six events this season and the second rally on the bounce where he has swept up the win after reliability woes struck Hyundai Motorsport.

“It’s been a very good start to the season winning four out of six is an achievement because at the moment the competition of the championship is quite high,” he added.

Ogier leads the world championship by 34 points from Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans, who finished the event in 10th position after retiring from Friday’s action.

shares
comments

Related video

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

Previous article

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

Next article

WRC Safari: The Good, The Bad and a Dazzle of zebras

WRC Safari: The Good, The Bad and a Dazzle of zebras
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021