Newly crowned Junior World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier was unable to make it to the finish of the Rallye du Condroz-Huy following an event long battle with fellow Citroen driver Bruno Thiry.
The Belgian event took place over three days with Ogier and Thiry running in close proximity on the timing sheets through to the final day.
While Thiry was able to finish 14th overall in his Citroen C2-R2 MAX, Ogier was forced out due to a gearbox issue on the final leg of the event although he admitted he had enjoyed the experience.
“Although it was cut short, we enjoyed a fantastic rally!” he said. “I struggled at first on these very greasy roads. I was braking too early – but there was so little grip! Gradually I got slightly more used to the stages and we came back into the frame again. A good choice of intermediate BFGoodrich tyres for the final loop of stages yesterday (SS10 and SS11) allowed us to make up the time lost to Bruno.
“With just eight-tenths of a second between us and only two stages to go, we were set for an exciting finish – until we encountered our problem. But I can draw an extremely positive conclusion from this rally. I've once more increased my experience in some very difficult conditions. I'm also happy about all the work we did together with PH-Sport. We opted for some good settings on the car and made the correct tyre choices. In these really difficult conditions, the driveability of the C2-R2 MAX was a useful ally. In the mud, its traction, damping and eagerness made it awesome to drive.
“Finally, I was very pleased to be able to set similar times to those of a well-known driver like Bruno Thiry – who was competing on home territory.”