24 May 2015
WRC Rally de Portugal: Some will be happy as the best didn't win - Ogier
Sebastien Ogier: I said at the end of the stage that it was frustrating that the best driver is not winning this weekend. I say that, but I need also say this is not the fault of Jari – it's the fault of the rules. It's like that. He did the job he had to do and especially today he drove as fast as he could to keep me behind and he did it well. Congrats to Jari and Miikka [Anttila – his co-driver]...
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier was in a cheeky mood after finishing second on Rally de Portugal remarking that “some people will be happy because the best didn't win.”
Ogier was at a disadvantage on the first two days due to his road position, but despite being the principal road sweeper for much of the event, the Frenchman stormed back, hauling himself up from sixth to second on day two and cutting the gap to eventual winner, Jari-Matti Latvala from 25.9s at the end of Friday to just 8.2s at the finish.
The result – combined with the maximum three bonus points he took in the Power Stage – now sees him increase his lead in the Drivers' Championship, with the gap up from 33 points to 42.
“I know it will be a happy event for some people - some people will be happy because the best didn't win. It is not the best feeling for me, but still a fantastic weekend,” said Ogier, after the final stage.
Speaking later, however, he elaborated on what he meant by that and also insisted it wasn't a knock at Latvala, but more an expression of his frustration with the running order rules.
“What is coming out is satisfaction [after this event], with 21 points this is almost the perfect operation for the championship and that is my goal number one this year. Of course you heard some frustration coming from me. I am like this, I say what I think and sometimes I say things when it is quite hot,” he explained. “I am always [having] problems to control my frustration. I say what I think directly to everyone.
“I have to say something about that [the disadvantage I was at with my road position]. I said at the end of the stage that it was frustrating that the best driver is not winning this weekend. I say that, but I need also say this is not the fault of Jari – it's the fault of the rules. It's like that. He did the job he had to do and especially today he drove as fast as he could to keep me behind and he did it well. Congrats to Jari and Miikka [Anttila – his co-driver].
“Regarding myself, I didn't risk it all. It would have been stupid. I am in a good position in the championship and I have to think about it. That's my goal number one in the season: I want to be world champion again.
“Eighteen points is good. I keep the pressure, but on the long one [on Sunday] I was a bit too cautious. I conserve a bit too much my tyres. Even so, even if I push maximum I could be quicker, but not overall. I am happy at the end and happy for the team.”
So did he get the tyre strategy right through the event?
“It was not perfect, but pretty good. We were driving a new rally, this was a new challenge. We tested under the rain two weeks ago, so we could only base things on the past and our experience. The only small problem on day one was because of a puncture – a small cut in the side of the tyre. It cost me 10 seconds and but I'd rather not think about these 10 missing seconds. But we did a clean drive and saved the tyre a little bit better than the rest,” he replied.
Meanwhile, Ogier's co-driver Julien Ingrassia also hit out at the rules that mean the championship leader is forced to run at the front of the order on days one and two.
“I am a bit disappointed this rule that makes us not in the same game and we cannot settle with that. It's a nice fight and nice pictures, but for me we can do better in the World Rally Championship – we can make a rule more fair. In Finland, for example, we will open the road for two and a half days and then on Sunday we are behind for 50 kilometres. We can do much better than that,” Ingrassia said.
“Mathematically, however, I am happy [with the result here]: we increase the lead in the championship. It was great emotions [also] to see Seb's talents and skills. It was really amazing how he keeps the car on the road and fights for the win in these conditions.”
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