2020 title in shortened year would mean less – Ogier

Toyota driver will not rank seventh championship highly should he prevail in Italy this weekend due to COVID-hit year


Sébastien Ogier has talked of his sadness at what he sees as an unnecessarily short World Rally Championship season.

The Toyota driver goes into this week’s Rally Monza chasing his seventh title – but says success this season would mean less than the previous years because of the COVID-19-impacted, seven-round calendar.

Ogier was the highest profile, most vocal driver to question the WRC’s decision to run Rally México when the pandemic was in its infancy in March, he was also quick to push the FIA to get the series back on track in the summer before a telegraphed second wave.

This year’s limited calendar is due, according to the Toyota star, to the six-month gap between leaving round three in León and September’s fourth round in Estonia.

He told DirtFish: “I think everyone would have preferred to have a longer season, [but] we have been in this situation, the whole world has been in this situation. What is the most sad [is] that if we think that in the middle of March, when this coronavirus appeared, we had done already three rallies.


“And now, here we are [with, I] don’t know how many [missing] rallies later, with only three more rallies done. That’s what’s the most sad and frustrating for me: that we haven’t been able to do more races when the situation was under control.

“It was pretty clear, if you listen to every specialist science sector, that we will be in the critical situation again at this time of the year, where the second wave was pretty much planned, everything was planned. That’s the most disappointing thing about this season.”

Talking about lifting a seventh title from this season, Ogier told DirtFish: “I believe I still have some chance to win. If I win next Sunday and be champion, I will not place this title at the same level as the previous ones, that’s clear.

“But at the end, we also had the whole season, even if it’s a short one with little rallies, we still had the same chance to do it and the one who came on top still deserved some rewards. Definitely there will be a lot of discussion and arguments about it and how much credit you need to give it or not. But at the end of the day, even if it’s a bit less credit, I think it will still have some credit to me.”

Ogier trails Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans by 14 points going into this week’s Rally Monza final round.

Words:David Evans

Photos:Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT