For World Rally Championship leader Elfyn Evans, it was a stupid question. So he said it was a stupid question.
When DirtFish asked the Welshman his thoughts on Sébastien Ogier’s start to the season – his worst start since 2012 – Evans’ reply was concise.
“That’s a stupid question.”
After a brief pause, and a degree or two of encouragement from DirtFish, he did expand a bit. Thankfully.
“There’s a lot of talk about this being Séb’s worst start to the year,” said Evans, “but it’s pure nonsense.
“He hasn’t become a six-time world champion by accident, has he? He’s third in the championship, five points off the lead and people think there’s something wrong. There’s nothing wrong.
“Watch this space in México.”
In defence of the nonsense-speakers, this is Ogier’s worst start to the year since 2012 by dint of the fact that it’s the first time since he spent a year in Volkswagen’s Škoda Fabia S2000 that he hasn’t won round one or round two. Or round one and round two, a feat managed in 2015 and 2016.
But, let’s keep this in perspective. Ogier is five points off the top of the table, he’s finished second and fourth in Monte Carlo and Sweden respectively.
And let’s listen more to what Evans has to say. Evans shared the M-Sport team with Ogier when he finished second and won in León in 2017 and 2018.
He knows what Ogier is capable of in Guanajuato this week. Like five wins from seven starts. The other two? Finished second on those.
“Sébastien’s always been famously strong on this rally,” said Evans. “We’ve seen that every year. This year he’s showing that he’s a really smart guy.
“He will have a slightly better place on the road [on day one], every little helps and being third is better [than being first], but he is a very, very fast driver and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be business as usual for Séb and Julien [Ingrassia] in México this week.”
And, for the past seven years, business as usual for the Frenchmen has meant the top two steps of the podium.