28 October 2013
Rally de Espana: I knew there was a chance to win, says Ogier
Sebastien Ogier: We made a strong comeback in France and left as World Champions. Now we've managed to play catch-up big style in Spain – and we're World Champions again!
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier was ecstatic after winning Rally de Espana on Sunday, and despite going into the final day just over 45 seconds off the lead, insisted he knew there was a chance he could still triumph.
Ogier looked in control initially and led following Friday's three night stages. However on Saturday morning he lost over 50 seconds in the final test of the loop, SS6, when he picked up a puncture. That dropped him back and left him with it all to do going into the final leg, when the action shifted from asphalt to gravel.
Making the most of his superior road position, though, he stormed back into contention, eventually overhauling team-mate and overnight leader, Jari-Matti Latvala in the penultimate stage. The win, his eighth of the season, also helped VW claim the Manufacturers' crown.
“What an incredible rally, and what a fantastic season! Our team really deserved the World Championship title. I'm incredibly proud to be part of the Volkswagen team. And of course I'm ecstatic that Julien [Ingrassia - my co-driver] and I managed to secure the win here in Spain,” Ogier reflected.
“I promised beforehand that I would try everything – and it worked. It has to be said that it was extremely difficult early Sunday morning though. Driving through the dust thrown up by the cars in front was like being in the thickest of fog – zero visibility. At times, we had to slow down in the middle of full-speed stretches because we couldn't see anything at all. We made a strong comeback in France and left as World Champions. Now we've managed to play catch-up big style in Spain – and we're World Champions again!”
Speaking in the post-event press conference, the Frenchman reiterated that it was not an 'easy weekend'. He also revealed that he suffered another puncture on the final day.
“Our strategy was to push from the start and make a gap,” he continued. “We had a good start on Friday night, but I was not completely on the pace and I was struggling with the tyre wear. Normally this is my strength, but this time I was using the tyres more than others. Something was wrong, and definitely I need to work on the tarmac to make a better set-up.
“Yesterday [Saturday] I took risks and pushed, but then I had the puncture. Finally, it was a nice strategy, we were fourth on the road [on Sunday], but this was not an easy job. We had the dust, but I think we were the only ones who took time from Jari-Matti.
“I don't enjoy this condition [driving in the dust]. [But] I was motivated to fight for the win. I didn't want to lose my chance and the price for that was to take risks. The only moment was another puncture, this time we were lucky, it was only four kilometres with the flat tyre. You always need a bit of luck to win in rally. We had some with us this time.”
So did he feel he could still win going into the final leg? “I knew there was a chance,” he replied, “but it was difficult to estimate how much we could get at the beginning but I knew we would have trouble with dust and that happened. When it was clear, I took time and the cleaning gave me an advantage. But the dust was horrible. At midday service I believed more and more of my chance with only 15 seconds to catch on the second loop. I was quite confident I could do it. It was also difficult for Jari-Matti being first on the road on the second loop because he still had to clean a little bit in his position.
“[Overall though] I am very happy [with the win]. It's not the most important [thing however] – that is the title for Volkswagen.”
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
the conversation - Add your comment
Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.