Ogier: WRC rules too generous to guest drivers like Loeb

World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier wants WRC rules changed to prevent 'guest' drivers - such as Citroen favourite Sebastien Loeb - getting advantageous positions

Ogier: WRC rules too generous to guest drivers like Loeb

With day one WRC running orders set by championship positions, points leaders end up getting the worst of conditions on gravel rallies while part-time entrants benefit from roads swept clean by cars ahead.

Citroen's part-time 2016 programme with Kris Meeke, which included two victories, attracted vociferous criticism for that reason, while returning legend Loeb won on the third of his three '18 starts with the team.

Ogier called the WRC "the most guest-friendly motorsport in the world" and said its regulations allow guest drivers to "select the rallies" they have the best chance of winning.

"I think all of the top drivers who are doing a full championship are in agreement about this," said Ogier.

"It is frustrating to see guys come to a few selected rallies where they know they have a huge advantage and put us in the shadow.

"I don't want to be in this situation."

Ogier returns to Citroen next year with Esapekka Lappi as his full-time team-mate.

Loeb expressed enthusiasm for more occasional WRC outings after his win in Spain, and Citroen has indicated the door is open for him.

Asked what his stance on guest drivers meant for Loeb, Ogier replied: "Believe me, I would be very happy to have him with us full time in the championship again.

"This is not especially against him, it's just that he is the best of the guest drivers. I don't think it's normal to give such a position to the guest.

"I haven't said anything against Seb but I told [Citroen] I don't think it's normal that we have drivers doing only a few rallies."

Ogier's title rival Thierry Neuville believes guest drivers should always run first on the road.

"It's ridiculous: we are fighting for the championship, but we are looking stupid when you are driving so fast, but just cleaning all of the time," he said.

"Let them go to the front and do this job."

Citroen team principal Pierre Budar emphasised the value of guests such as Loeb to the WRC, but admitted it brought complications.

"I don't think we should say they shouldn't be allowed," Budar told Autosport.

"We can see how positive it is for the championship to have some guest stars coming in.

"We will have a clear target next year. If we have some drivers coming in one time during the championship, we have to make sure it will not interfere with our top drivers doing the full season.

"Next year, we have to fight for a championship, it will be difficult and I don't want to make it more difficult for ourselves.

"If we bring [guest] drivers, we have to properly select a rally where they come in, maybe it's on Tarmac.

"There are several ways to do this properly and this is something we have to manage."

shares
comments
Fans get chance to join M-Sport's Sebastien Ogier farewell event

Previous article

Fans get chance to join M-Sport's Sebastien Ogier farewell event

Next article

Skoda Motorsport scales back for 2019 WRC2 season, Tidemand exits

Skoda Motorsport scales back for 2019 WRC2 season, Tidemand exits
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Sébastien Ogier
Author David Evans
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
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021