Sébastien Ogier has acknowledged that he needs to outscore Citroën Total World Rally Team team-mate and namesake Sébastien Loeb on Rallye Deutschland this weekend if he is to remain in viable contention for the 2011 World Rally Championship laurels – even if the current title pace-setter 'has racked up a remarkable string of results in Germany'.
Loeb has stretched his advantage in the standings to some 27 points in the wake of his unanticipated Finnish success at the end of last month – equivalent to more than a rally victory. With five events left to run and sitting four points further adrift still, Ogier knows that he needs to start turning the tables or else kiss his chances of claiming his first WRC drivers' crown goodbye.
After winding up a distant third in Germany on only his second appearance there last year, the younger of the two Frenchmen is well aware that he will need to raise his game this time around if he is to prevent Loeb from storming to his ninth consecutive triumph on the event – but buoyed by a positive test session that enabled him to establish a good feel for the handling of his Citroën DS3 WRC, Ogier is in confident spirits.
“It's an atypical rally with a lot of differences from one stage to the next,” the 27-year-old explained. “I like certain sections more than others. Although I was on the podium last year, I wasn't able to match the pace of the winners; this year, we're determined to show that we've improved.
“The car felt good [in testing], but testing and competing are two very different things. A priori
, our rivals should be better-armed than in previous seasons. We have to score more points than the current [world championship] leader, even if we know that he has racked up a remarkable string of results in Germany. In any case, it's not going to be an easy rally!”