Sebastien Ogier already making a difference in Monte Carlo - M-Sport

M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson says he has already seen the benefit to hiring Sebastien Ogier after the first day of their first rally together

Sebastien Ogier already making a difference in Monte Carlo - M-Sport

Ogier set a blistering pace at shakedown on Wednesday evening, posting a time two seconds per mile faster than anybody else, but Wilson said the Frenchman's influence goes beyond his speed in the car.

"The intensity is there immediately," said Wilson, "he's pushing everything, chasing everything and doing everything he can to make things better.

"Already we've seen a couple of small areas, just strategic stuff, and you think: why didn't we come up with that?"

"We have seen the benefit already from him joining the team - I guess you only have to look at the time he set at shakedown to see that.

"I know shakedown is shakedown and it can be fairly inconclusive, but he just got into the car and did it.

"He put that time down and then showed real consistency with his next run, which was to the same second.

"It's very impressive, it's what we expected, to be honest."

Ogier was reluctant to draw too many conclusions from his shakedown speed, but admitted he was pleased with the start he'd made.

He said: "M-Sport was the team which showed the most enthusiasm for me and I like that, I like to work with people who really want me.

"But still, this rally and this season will be a challenge.

"I don't want to make too many predictions, but I would be happy with a podium from this week - that would be a good start to the relationship."

TITLE OUTSIDER

Ogier believes those reduced expectations apply to the entire season, rather than just the first event of the year.

"It's strange to make a step back as more of an outsider for this season, but at least with Julien [Ingrassia, co-driver], we have a lot of experience and we have some hope," he said.

"We start the season with very little time in the car and the team and it's definitely difficult.

"This [M-Sport] is the only private team in the championship and it's always hard to fight against the manufacturers.

"But at least this is an exceptional private team which has proved for many many years that they can do really, really well.

"Even if the last years were not so good, I trust them.

"I went into this challenge feeling something [good] could come out."

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