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Sardinia in contention to join Ogier’s WRC 2023 programme

Sardinia has emerged as a strong contender to become the next round of Sebastien Ogier’s partial World Rally Championship campaign for Toyota.

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Ogier is contesting a part-time campaign for the second consecutive season after bowing out as a full-time driver to spend more time with his family following his eighth world title in 2021.

The 39-year-old competed in six rallies last year and has already participated in three events this season, winning rounds in Monte Carlo and Mexico to lead the championship.

Last weekend Ogier finished fifth in his third outing in Croatia to remain the championship leader, albeit tied on points with Toyota team-mate and Croatia winner Elfyn Evans.

Ogier will miss the next round in Portugal next month, but it appears the following round in Sardinia (1-4 June) is an option for him.

"I don’t know what the plan is for the team to announce that [my next round], but there is a strong chance to see me there,” the Frenchman told Autosport when asked if Sardinia could be his next WRC round.

Toyota WRC boss Jari-Matti Latvala added “As [Sebastien] mentioned, there is a possibility for Sardinia so we are looking to that now that could be the event he will be driving.”

Reflecting on the weekend, Ogier felt he didn’t receive the rewards his pace deserved in Croatia after setting seven fastest stage times.

Starting first on the road, Ogier led the rally after winning the opening stage before being forced to change a wheel after hitting a pothole on stage 2. The stoppage cost him more than minute, before he was handed a further one minute penalty for a safety belt infringement in the aftermath of the wheel change.

Ogier then found himself in a duel with world champion team-mate Kalle Rovanpera for fourth, but ultimately lost out to the Finn by 9.7s.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“I have a feeling this weekend that my efforts were not really rewarded, but that’s okay. It is sometimes like this in motorsport,” he added.

“Today we didn’t have the pace to fight Kalle and well done to him, because he drove well.

“Obviously this first stage [on Sunday] he ran last year in the test did of course not help us.

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“It would have required a lot of risk to try to match his pace in the first pass of stage 17, we had it on the second pass but not on the first one.

“The Power Stage was chaotic for us as I tried something with my tyre choice which didn’t work out.

“I had massive understeer and many moments, much more than I usually have, so I was glad to cross the finish line.”

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