Sebastien Ogier keen to prevent WRC title battle going to Australia

Sebastien Ogier says he is wary of prolonging the World Rally Championship title fight beyond the penultimate round of the season in Britain later this month

Sebastien Ogier keen to prevent WRC title battle going to Australia

Thierry Neuville's disastrous Rally Catalunya retirement has opened the door for Ogier to seal a fifth straight WRC title.

Ogier finished second to Kris Meeke last weekend in his Ford Fiesta, but increased his advantage at the top of the table from 17 points over Neuville to 37 over M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak, with Neuville another point behind.

Ending Rally GB later this month with a 30-point lead over Tanak would give Ogier the title, but he needs a 31-point lead over Neuville because the Belgian has won more rounds than him this season.

He said he was keen to avoid the fight going to a decider in Australia, where running first on the road on day one is expected to be a serious handicap.

"We've taken a really positive step towards the championship," said Ogier, who can become only the second driver to claim five WRC titles after nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb.

"I think we were on course to extend the lead anyway, but with Thierry's mistake that changed the picture completely and we've been able to extend the gap even more.

"I didn't want to go to the last rally in Australia and still be fighting for the championship.

"The road cleaning is really bad on that rally and to go there and fight in those conditions, with the championship leader having to drive [in the worst conditions] at the front on the first day, it wouldn't be so good."

A fifth successive GB win would guarantee Ogier the championship, and would make him only the third driver to win WRC titles with different manufacturers (Volkswagen and Ford).

That feat was first achieved when Walter Rohrl claimed the title in 1980 with Fiat and backed that success up with another championship two years later in an Opel.

Juha Kankkunen has gone one better, winning twice with Lancia and once with Peugeot and Toyota.

shares
comments
Sordo out as Hyundai drops to three cars for WRC Rally Australia

Previous article

Sordo out as Hyundai drops to three cars for WRC Rally Australia

Next article

Watch action from Rally GB WRC M-Sport and Hyundai testing

Watch action from Rally GB WRC M-Sport and Hyundai testing
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021