4 April 2013
Q&A: Sebastien Ogier
Well, I think it's about time in the car. I had a year [to get used to it] and he had a much shorter time (a few weeks) to get used to it. But for sure, he was competitive in Sweden and Mexico, but he also has been unlucky…
Views on Citroen...
How does the Polo R WRC compare to the Citroen DS3 WRC you drove in 2011?
Well, both are very good car and my memories of driving the DS3 WRC tell me it was also very good, so I don't expect it has changed much but really I don't know. The Polo R WRC is also excellent as you can see from two back-to-back wins and a second place. It's very easy to drive and has a good engine. However, before the season started I had many questions as I did not know where we were compared to our rivals. When I first drove the Polo R WRC at its first test in 2012, it was not very nice to drive, but we developed it well last year and now we're here leading the driver's championship.
Do you attribute your success at VW not only to your speed, but also due to the less politicized atmosphere you experienced at Citroen?
[Laughs] Yeah, definitely! I mean it's not a secret that when I left Citroen, the political situation between me and the team was not so good; maybe this affected my mind and during rallies a little as it would anybody and any sportsman. However, I won my first rally with them in 2010 with the C4, so I have some good memories with them. Instead of the bad things that happened, I prefer to focus on the good things and feelings from that time. I mean without Citroen, I wouldn't be at VW today, so I have to thank them for that.
What do you think of Citroen's recent struggles?
Well, I don't think they're struggling to be honest. I mean Seb (Loeb) won in Monte Carlo, then he was competitive again in Sweden. Mikko also wasn't too bad in Mexico as he won a few stages. No, I don't think they're struggling really.
Looking ahead to Portugal...
We saw the Polo R WRC is competitive on gravel last time in Mexico, what do you expect from Portugal?
Well, we saw that we were competitive last time out, but we still need to work for sure as we are a new team and a new car. We need to focus a little on the stability of the car as the majority of the events are on gravel.
What is Portugal like as an event?
It's one of my favourite types of rally! Lots of fast flowing roads! I've won the event twice; my first rally in 2010 with Citroen and again in 2011 with them. Hopefully I can do it again, but when it rains, it's really slippery and it's really tough! I really hope it stays dry!
Are you fully prepared for any gate-based or podium mishaps?
Yeah! I think I am actually! That's never happened to me before, so it was quite a surprise [when we got to the closed gate]. I tried to push it with the car but we could only pull it, so Julien got out, pulled it and we were through. I knew we would get the time back as it was a circumstance that we could not control. It was not a big problem in the end. But seriously, whilst it was funny then, I hope it doesn't happen again as what would happen if it were on a fast and wide stretch of road? The organizers should have really spotted it.
On his targets for the rest of the season...
What are your goals and targets for the rest of the season?
As I said, the two wins have made life easier for us but the season is long! Hopefully I can win a lot of rallies and the championship with VW some day, but we'll see.
Views on Sebastien Loeb...
How much do the comparisons with Sébastien Loeb annoy you and how much has the media stirred the rivalry?
Well it doesn't annoy me so much, but it's just boring, you know? After every rally, I get asked the same questions about it. It's a big compliment as Seb is the most successful driver in history of rallying, but I think it's important to remember that we are from different generations and he is only doing a few rallies this year so you can't really compare. Maybe if we get some more wins, then people will stop asking these questions over time, But I am Sébastien Ogier and he is Sébastien Loeb. The media definitely caused the 'situation' between us, because whilst we were rivals at Citroen, I have no problem with him and he has no problem with me, you saw that in Sweden. It was definitely their creation.
by George East
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