Sebastien Ogier has expressed his joy after taking second place on the Rallye Monte Carlo, Volkswagen's debut event in the FIA World Rally Championship, and he has said it feels 'like a victory'.
Ogier ran competitively throughout in the new Polo R WRC and remarkably he won the opening stage, outpacing Sebastien Loeb, the eventual winner, by 3.7 seconds. Although he slipped back to second in SS2, and was then unable to take the fight to his former team-mate, the 29-year-old remained 'best of the rest', taking one more stage win on the Thursday and in the end posting 14 top-five times from a possible 16. It was a brilliant result, and given Loeb will only do four events this year, Ogier already leads the full-time WRC runners in the fight for the 2013 WRC drivers' title.
“I never was as happy about a second place as I was today. To reach the podium in our debut with the Polo R WRC is just great. For me it is like a victory,” Ogier remarked.
“To start the season like this is amazing. I've been waiting for one year, I've done so many tests and it was frustrating sometimes, and now here we are with the Polo on the pace already. The entire team worked very hard during the last year, and I am happy to give something back to them.
“It would have been so easy to make a mistake. These were probably the most difficult conditions in a Rally Monte Carlo I have ever experienced. Especially today, during the first run to the Col de Turini, it was extremely slippery, so that speeds of more than 20 kph were not possible. It was just about keeping the car on the road.
“It is a great, great feeling [to take second]. I want to thank the team. I am happy to give them this result.”
Volkswagen team boss Jost Capito meanwhile hailed the performance of his team and that Ogier.
“Second place in the first rally of the new Polo R WRC is more than we could have expected. The team did an exceptional job in the last four rally days and prepared the cars perfectly. The Rally Monte Carlo is the most complex event in the calendar and the team has here shown that they are ready for the World Rally Championship. There was no mistake, not the slightest problem,” he added.
“One cannot value the performance of Sébastien Ogier high enough [either]. He drove the 'Monte' in a World Rally Car for the first time. There is no other rally in which the driver's impact on the result is bigger.”