Reigning World Rally champion and current points leader Sebastien Ogier says he will leave Rally d'Italia mid-event if his wife goes into labour with their first child and has a private plane on standby.
The Volkswagen Motorsport driver is expecting his first child with his television presenter wife Andrea Kaiser, who is due to give birth between Rally d'Italia in Sardinia this weekend and the next round in Poland on the 30 June-3 July.
The three-time WRC champion has arrived in Sardinia for this weekend's rally and will start the race but has confirmed he will withdraw from the event if his wife goes into labour at any point this weekend.
“I'm very excited to start soon a new life as Andrea and I are expecting our first child. The due date is after the rally, but you never know,” Ogier said. “If the baby arrives during the rally, I will head straight to my wife. That is a moment that I definitely don't want to miss. The team is supporting me 100 per cent in this decision.”
Ogier is confident the impending birth will not affect his approach to the sixth round of the 2016 championship as he looks to return to winning ways after narrowly missing out in the past three events.
Ogier, who holds a comfortable 47-point lead over nearest rival Andreas Mikkelsen, says he heads to the Italian round with an upbeat frame of mind despite complaining of the starting procedure rules.
The rules dictate as championship leader he must be first on the road for the opening three days, effectively acting as a sweeper to make the track cleaner and faster for the chasing cars.
“I'm very confident heading to Italy, since the season has been fantastic so far,” he said. “Julien Ingrassia [co-driver] and I have been on the podium at every rally and we want to build on this streak. Even though it isn't one of my favourite rallies, I have learned to like it.”