CAMPEONATO MUNDIAL DE RALIS 2017

 

Exclusive reaction from five-time WRC world champion Sébastien Ogier.

Where had it come from? Why now? Sebastien Ogier didn’t care. He was just glad to see it again.

Emotion.

Real, genuine emotion of the damp-eyed order – the sort not often seen from Ogier. Clearly, the number five suits the Frenchman. He wasn’t so sure.

“Five is just a number,” said Ogier. “Of course, it’s a nice number, but, you know, I could never have imagined to be in this position to win five titles. I could never imagine to be driving in this championship, so this feels great.

“But what is beautiful for me is my emotion. When I finished that last stage… I can’t explain, but in this short period of time, I have the strongest emotion I ever had in rallying. It’s not the strongest in my life, when my son was born it was more special, but in the sport it was. I don’t know why it was like this, why I felt like this. But I am happy I got this emotion, I’m happy this sport can still make me feel like this.”

Ogier declined a million and one opportunities to share his inner thoughts on which contract he might or might not sign in the coming weeks, but in those words it sounded like he might have reconsidered one option. If it had been in his mind, an emotionally charged end to Wales Rally GB on Sunday could well have turned his thinking around and away from retirement.

If Ogier really needed help in discovering the source of his feelings in north Wales last weekend, he would do well to reflect on where he was 12 months ago.

This time last year, the superstar from Gap celebrated another championship with Volkswagen. But with the champagne still fizzing, the news broke that the German manufacturer was walking.

Ogier was out of a job.

Granted, he had offers of work, but nothing offered the same sort of consistency he’d become used to for the last five years. Volkswagen had become his home. His fortress. His castle. And now they’d all been razed.

Rebuilding would take a massive effort from him and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.

“It was a bet to go with M-Sport,” he said, pausing for thought. “OK, maybe not a bet, but it was a challenge and we took this challenge. We won straight away in Monte Carlo and I didn’t expect that, but then there were some times when it was quite hard this year. In Finland I took two hard impacts, one of which was pure bad luck, but we kept working.a515 Copy