Sebastien Loeb backs Sebastien Ogier in WRC running order rules row

Sebastien Ogier's argument for rule change in the World Rally Championship has been backed by nine-time title winner Sebastien Loeb

Sebastien Loeb backs Sebastien Ogier in WRC running order rules row

Ogier is vehemently against the current running order rules, which force him as championship leader to drive through the stages first on the road on Friday and Saturday, sweeping clean the loose gravel and improving the grip for those following him.

DAVID EVANS: An explosive Ogier is good for the WRC

Loeb said any regulation that stopped the fastest driver winning was skewed and bad for the WRC.

"He is right," Loeb told Autosport.

"Some people seem to think he should not speak about this, but he is right in what he says.

"It's what I always defended when I was competing; what we want is something fair. The best driver with the best team should win.

"It's like the guy who wins the 100-metre running race: if he is world champion he doesn't start in the gravel or on the grass next to the track - he's on the same line as others and if he's still the best then he is still winning."

Success ensured Loeb was at the front of the field on the opening day for much of his career, but he says forcing the championship leader out front for Friday and Saturday under the current rules is excessive.

"I understand it can be frustrating for [Ogier]," said Loeb.

"Two days cleaning is too much. One day was a fight, but it was OK. But two days is too much and it's destroying his chance.

"For sure he is better than the other drivers and if he is better then it's natural that he wins."

This week's Rally Italy is likely to be one of the most challenging events of the season for Ogier.

He faces hot, dry conditions on what is routinely one of the loosest surfaces on the calendar.

"Under these conditions, it's impossible to win," Ogier said.

There is the potential for some rain on Thursday, but nothing like the kind of deluge he would need to negate the disadvantage of running at the head of the field.

Ogier favours a return to the qualifying format that was employed in 2012 and '13, allowing the fastest driver across the shakedown stage the opportunity to select their place on the road.

FIA rally director Jarmo Mahonen assured Autosport the governing body is looking at every aspect of the regulation for next season.

"Everything is on the table," he said. "The full range from qualifying to the championship leader being first on the road for all three days. We're thinking about this one a lot."

The current system has divided opinion among drivers, with Kris Meeke one of the key advocates for keeping the current system.

Loeb refused to criticise the drivers

"Kris can be happy if he wins, he is winning and that is that; he cannot change the rule," he said.

"The problem is not with the drivers, the problem is with the rule."

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