Sebastien Ogier says he is expecting a “close” fight on Rally Sweden next weekend and that the Nordic drivers will be the ones to beat.
Ogier began the 2016 WRC season perfectly last month, leaving Monte Carlo with victory and maximum points after also setting the pace in the Power Stage.
The Frenchman, who is gunning for his fourth Drivers' title this season, won in Sweden last year after a thrilling final stage battle with team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville. Ogier also won in Sweden in 2013 too, and will be out for his third success next Sunday.
“It is obviously fantastic to travel to Sweden on the back of a dream start to the season and with 28 points to our name,” sais Ogier. “The conditions there are unique, and unlike anything anywhere else in the rallying world. Thanks to the special spiked tyres, we have perfect grip on the ice and snow and can position the car precisely at high speed.
“I am expecting a close Rally Sweden, but I am certainly looking forward to it. Last year it was a tough struggle with the Nordic drivers.
“They are the ones to beat in Sweden.”
Meanwhile, Volkswagen motorsport director Jost Capito added that Sweden will always have special significant for the team as it was the scene of their maiden WRC victory in 2013. VW has been unbeaten in Sweden ever since.
“We will probably always travel to the Rally Sweden with a sense of pride and anticipation,” Capito stated. “The entire team will never forget the scene of our first win in the World Rally Championship. Over the past three years, we have always enjoyed outstanding rallies in Sweden – with wins for Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala, as well as some very special moments for Andreas Mikkelsen. These include his first podium and what was so nearly his first victory twelve months ago, for example.
“The rally fans will be raving about last year's drama, when three drivers all had an equal chance of winning right down to the final stage, for a long time – unless that is the coming Rally Sweden is even more exciting than 2015...”