In 2017, Sébastien Ogier arrived at the start of the Monte Carlo Rally with just over a day of running in an asphalt-trim Ford Fiesta WRC. He won then. And he can win now. And those are the thoughts of Ogier himself.
Having driven for Volkswagen for four years, Ogier then made his debut with a new team on three of the following four Monte Carlo Rallies. And he won two of them.
Without a doubt, he is the driver who starts round one later this month with the least experience of Rally1 machinery among the factory competitors, but that doesn’t worry him.
Ogier told DirtFish: “It’s never optimum coming late to the preparation. I have done three days and then I will do one more in January.
“I have won Monte Carlo with much less preparation than this before. Nothing is impossible – let’s see what happens.
“I know I’m not doing the full program, but it’s still exciting to be going into the Monte Carlo Rally. I’m a competitor and I want to win – I try to always give my best and to be performant in Monte.”
Ogier’s decision to join M-Sport was followed by a two-day test in Åre in northern Sweden, and a planned two-day Monte test in mid-January. He lost running time on one of those days when he crashed and damaged the rear of the car.
His decisions to move to Citroën for 2019 and Toyota for 2020 were taken sooner and he tested the C3 WRC and Yaris WRC earlier on than the Fiesta WRC in 2017.
While 2017 brought a significant step in terms of engine performance and aerodynamic downforce, Ogier had worked – albeit only briefly – with Volkswagen on its 2017-specification Polo R WRC.
His time with the all-new hybrid Yaris Rally1 has been limited to three days in December and a further day this month.
Ogier has been forced to come to terms with the biggest technological power unit change in rallying’s history, but at least did it in his native French Alps.