16 August 2015
WRC Rallye Deutschland: Ogier with point to prove
Sebastien Ogier: The two last years were a disaster for me in Germany. For two and a half years we make a good performance, but not in Germany – I can say in Germany we have been really bad. I hope we can change that.
Runaway championship leader Sebastien Ogier will have a point to prove on Rallye Deutschland this coming week an event which has proven to be his Achilles' heel in recent years.
Germany remains the only event Volkswagen has yet to win in the World Rally Championship. Ogier has won there before, back in 2011 with Citroen, but his record with the Polo R WRC in Trier is poor and while he did lead early on in 2014 and 2013, both times he crashed out.
“I have mixed feelings about Rally Germany,” said Ogier, who will no doubt be hoping it is a case of third time lucky this year. “On the one hand, I won there in 2011 and have always been fast. On the other hand, I experienced the pain of minor errors on the narrow streets being penalised immediately in 2014.
“But that is history now. We want to do better this year and that is definitely possible. However, we need to be focussed and avoid errors.”
Quizzed on how he will prepare for the event, given what happened in 2014 and 2013, he added: “The preparations will be no different for me. The two last years were a disaster for me in Germany. For two and a half years we make a good performance, but not in Germany – I can say in Germany we have been really bad. I hope we can change that.
“For me, it's important, and for the team it would be nice to make them happy with the perfect one. We have some job in front of us.”
Ogier also has an outside chance of clinching his third WRC Drivers' title in Germany - although he insisted his focus is on the event and doing well, rather than thinking about the title.
“It is possible for Julien [Ingrassia – my co-driver] and I to secure the title in the drivers' and co-drivers' world championship in Germany. But we will only be focussing on ourselves and want to complete the rally successfully – ideally finishing in the middle of the podium,” he confirmed.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen boss Jost Capito said the team will be pushing extra hard to do well on home soil: “One thing's for certain: Our record at our home event reflects neither our ambitious goals nor our previous performance in Germany," Capito continued.
“There is no other WRC event at which our desire to win is so great and so unfulfilled. We could have got the win under our own steam in 2013 and 2014, but retired with Sebastien and [team-mate] Jari-Matti [Latvala] in the lead respectively. But even though luck hasn't exactly been on our side at home, there is no reason why we shouldn't be fighting for first place again in 2015.
“With Sebastien and Jari-Matti we have two winners on asphalt lining up, and [VW third driver] Andreas [Mikkelsen] is more than ready for his first ever race victory, and is pacy on all surfaces. And the team behind the three of them is also a winning bunch: they won't be making any compromises at Rally Germany, each of them will be putting in that extra bit of hard work.”
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