Sebastien Ogier sees his 17-point advantage at the top of the World Rally Championship standings as a slim margin which can’t be relied on to seal a fifth consecutive world title.

The M-Sport Ford driver edged back ahead outright in the drivers’ standings with third place, plus fourth on the Power Stage, in Germany last time out back in August and after a lengthy break is refreshed for the final three rounds to secure another drivers’ world title.

While bracing for the usual disadvantage of starting on the road first at the Spanish rally, Ogier is still confident his M-Sport Ford package can be competitive on the mixed surface event as he focuses on maximising performance in order to extend his 17-point lead on Thierry Neuville in the WRC championship.

“With the championships so close, we will have to deliver,” Ogier said. “We have a 17 point lead, but with 90 points still available there remains all to play for and we all need to work together to maximise our potential – starting with Rally Spain.

“We’re feeling fully refreshed after the break and ready to get back to business. Spain is always an enjoyable event. Its mixed surface makes it truly unique and the fans are so enthusiastic. I have a lot of special memories here, and it would be nice to add to them next week.

“Opening the road is a good thing in one sense as it means that we are back in the lead of the championship. But if it’s dry the championship lead also comes with its challenges and we’ll need to work hard to minimise the time loss through the opening gravel stages.

“Then, it’s onto the fast, smooth asphalt that this event is famed for. We had a one-day test to get used to this circuit-like asphalt and the car felt pretty good. We completed a lot of kilometres for a one-day test, and that sees us well prepared to deliver our best.”



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