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Ogier: I've got to keep working hard
1 September 2009
Sebastien Ogier is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of his Citroen C4 WRC on the Rally Australia and once again he has said his main objective is to ensure he gets to the finish.
Ogier is currently eighth in the 2009 WRC drivers' standings and he has really turned things around since finishing second in Greece. Indeed he only just missed out on another podium on the next event in Poland and he also shone in Finland last time out, finishing sixth and setting a fastest time - something only two other drivers have managed to achieve on their debut with a top category car on the 1000 Lakes, namely Didier Auriol and Carlos Sainz in 1988.
Despite all that though, the 2008 Junior World Rally champion is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and he hasn't set himself any lofty targets ahead of what is the twelfth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship.
"Both myself and my co-driver Julien Ingrassia are feeling more and more confident with the Citroën C4 WRC. But equally we know that we can take nothing for granted and that it is very important for us to keep on working hard," he stated.
"Since the middle of the season, we've definitely been going down the right road. Despite a few mistakes, we've learnt a lot from our first few events and this experience is beginning to pay off now. I'm getting increasingly used to the speed of a WRC machine and the hard work from the team has allowed us to get some good results.
"In Australia, our priority once more is to be there at the end. In the normal course of events I think we could aim for top-eight finish; maybe higher depending on how things go. Then we will have to see what the strategy from the team is. I've got complete confidence in the Citroen Junior Team and I cannot wait to get back behind the wheel of my C4 WRC for my first Rally Australia."
As this event is brand new for all the crews, Ogier will start the rally on a level playing field with everybody else, but he's not convinced this is a huge advantage, more just less of a disadvantage.
"You cannot really say that it is an advantage," he explained. "However, it means that we will not have less experience of the route than the other drivers, which is normally the case, so at least we do not start at a disadvantage.
"Everything will be new to us from start to finish, so this will be pretty much the same situation that we have faced all year. But for the team it will be a little bit different, as they will not have all the information needed for the car set-up. It will be more important than ever for us to do a good job during the recce. As far as we know the stages will be fast and flowing, with a few more twisty sections as well."
Conrad Rautenbach meanwhile will drive the other car entered by the Citroen Junior Team - and with Evgeny Novikov not in action in Australia, Rautenbach and Ogier will both be nominated to score manufacturers' points.
Rautenbach, like Ogier, is looking forward to the event in New South Wales, and with three points finishes in the bag, he will want to try and at least finish in the top-eight.
"We really don't know what will be waiting for us as we head off to the recce," he continued. "We've never rallied in this part of Australia before and it seems that the conditions will be very different from how they were in Perth.
"On the east coast, the stages are likely to be wider and quicker, a bit like they are in New Zealand or Finland. It's the sort of thing that I think I will like. There are several stages and the long final day could be tricky. I can't wait to get there now because Australia is a place I absolutely love!"
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