Is Ogier enjoying his part-time season?

Sébastien Ogier has been missing the winning feeling so far in 2022


The itch had been there for a long time. Forever, in fact. The time had come to scratch it. But what about the other tickle? What about rallying? He couldn’t turn his back completely.

Both. Do both. A part-program. That’s the answer.

But is Sébastien Ogier really enjoying the best of both worlds? He has divided his time between racing and rallying, but, so far this year, conquered neither.

Racing will take time. Ogier remains one of the most talented drivers to set foot on planet earth, if he invests the time, he can win Le Mans.


It’s rallying that perhaps poses the biggest question. One of Ogier’s objectives this season was to go to places like Portugal or Sardinia and demonstrate what could be done from a good place on the road. For years, he started the summer gravel rallies up front as championship leader. For years, he battled for one – and sometimes two days – to keep up with those further down the order, those enjoying the grip he was providing.

He couldn’t make it to the Italian island and Portugal ended with a forgettable 51st overall. He punctured twice and went off once.

Another deflation in Africa last time out meant a disconsolate fourth overall, following his three fellow GR Yaris Rally1 drivers home.

This wasn’t what 2022 was all about.


Some have pointed to the season-opening Monte as providing the year’s bitterest pill so far. No only did he lose what looked to be a nailed-on win in his mountains, he lost it to Sébastien Loeb.

The Ogier-Loeb thing is done. I know we’ve tried to keep it going time and again with the question of which of the two will win, but it’s done. The pair of them have massive mutual respect and the rivalry is now ultimately friendly.

Ogier was undoubtedly frustrated and a little bit angry that he missed the chance to become the first driver to win nine Monte Carlo Rallies, but there was no real rancour towards Loeb. How could there be? His countryman had helped a family that will forever remain close to Ogier’s heart – M-Sport – succeed.


There’s no question, Ogier could have won all three rallies he’s started so far this year. Taking Kalle Rovanperä out of the equation, only two drivers have led after more stages than him so far this year. Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak have been P1 for 17 stages each, Ogier’s led for 15. And done half the rallies.

His performance through Saturday afternoon’s Sleeping Warrior stage was spellbinding. It was wet, horribly wet, and as we all know, the rain comes as a great leveller. Ogier knows this better than most; not only has he won stacks of wet events, but he could, no doubt, detail ever meter of his hero Ayrton Senna’s opening lag of the 1993 European Grand Prix at a sodden Donington.

In Africa last Saturday, Ogier was sensational when the rain came and the water waited.

Is not winning getting him down? Yes of course. But don’t worry. In France, they have a saying.


“Maybe the rally gods don’t really like that I’m doing part-time now, because three times I’m coming this year, three times I’m out of the fight for the win because of a puncture,” he explained to DirtFish.

“So the bad luck is hitting me a little bit at the moment. The expression we have for this in France is: ‘Never two without three.’

“Now I had three, maybe next time it will be better.”

Ogier’s story in rallying isn’t done yet. Not nearly. And, don’t forget, at an emotional full-time farewell in Monza last year, the language was more open than closed when it came to the potential for a return.

He is, of course, still in his thirties and what the youngsters have in terms of seat-of-the-pants speed, the eight-time champion can match with his own pace and plenty of guile and know-how.

The season so far has been a blip for Ogier. But the man from Gap will be smiling again soon enough.

Words:David Evans