Sebastien Ogier has paid tribute to Volkswagen after he took his fourth victory of the season on Rally Italia Sardegna.
Ogier was determined to win the seventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship following his disappointment in Greece, when he was sidelined by a fuel pressure problem in the opening stage, and in the end he blitzed the pack, leading throughout and eventually finishing more than a minute up on Thierry Neuville. He also took the maximum three bonus points for winning the Power Stage.
“It feels fantastic to be back on top of the podium again!” Ogier said at the finish. “After the recce I said immediately I wanted to win, as it was two months without winning so I was missing the feeling. I think we did everything to do it.
“First I want to congratulate the team, they gave me a perfect car this weekend – the Polo ran like a dream. Of course we had a problem in Greece, but one in several rallies is not bad at all so I really want to congratulate them and we are very happy to get a victory and now we can enjoy our holiday in the summer.”
Despite his dominance, however, Ogier added the event wasn't easy: “The rally was incredibly demanding physically, due to the high temperatures, and it sometimes got as hot as 45 degrees in the cockpit,” he explained. “On the second day in particular, you came close to your limits and you easily lost three to four litres of fluid. So I'd like to say a big 'thank you' to our team members who look after us and to the physiotherapy team, who did a great job of taking care of us."
"The heat really takes it out on the tyres and the car too," he added. "My tyre-friendly driving style was no doubt one of the reasons for my victory.”
“I was especially pleased to once again win the Power Stage [too]," he continued. "I had a tough fight on my hands there with Thierry, who was incredibly fast during that stage, as he was throughout the rally.”
So were there any dramas? “No there were not really any moments, it was a great race. Yes this morning on one of the fastest stages of the rally a cow wanted to cross the road but finally didn't, so that was a good idea!” he joked. “Other than that it was a very good rally. There were a few rocks at the end of the Power Stage and one of the drivers in the front, I don't know who - maybe my team-mate! - cut a bit too much some corners and I hit a stone and I thought I got a puncture but I didn't in the end.”
Ogier now goes into the break with a 64-point lead in the Drivers' Championship, but despite that margin he isn't taking anything for granted.
“For sure for the moment things are looking very good and we are many points ahead of the second [placed] driver [my team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala], but we have six rallies to go, so it will not be enough to be Champions. I have to score more victories if I want to succeed,” he concluded.