It’s a debate many World Rally Championship fans like to ponder, but M-Sport team principal Richard Millener has had his say. He believes Sébastien Ogier is the greatest driver the WRC has ever seen.
Winning eight titles in nine years from 2013 to ’21, Ogier is statistically the second most successful driver in history in terms of championships and rally wins, with one fewer title and 25 fewer rally victories than his compatriot Sébastien Loeb.
But Ogier has won rallies for four different manufacturers – Citroën, Volkswagen, M-Sport Ford and Toyota – and titles for all of those teams bar Citroën.
Loeb meanwhile won all nine of his titles and claimed all 79 of his victories with Citroën, although he did later drive for Hyundai and has signed to drive an M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 on next month’s Monte Carlo Rally at the very least.
Speaking before Loeb’s deal to compete with M-Sport was agreed, Millener was asked on the impact Ogier – an M-Sport driver in 2017 and ’18 – has had on the WRC as he steps back to a part-time program in 2022.
Millener admitted Ogier’s regression “will change WRC in a way that there is one less guy who’s consistently fighting at the top on all the rallies” but “the sport moves on” and “there’s a great young group of drivers in the championship now who attention will focus to”.
“Séb’s made his decision, he wants to only do a partial season,” he added. “It would be great to have him back, but the championship fight will still be as strong as ever with or without him.”
But he did take the opportunity to laud Ogier’s supreme efforts in rallying.
“In terms of his input into WRC as a whole, for me he’s the best driver that’s ever done WRC,” said Millener.
“I think when you look at the fights he’s had to go through to win his championships, I think they are some of the most difficult over the history of the whole WRC.
“So it was a pleasure to work with such a guy and be two involved in two title fights with him and for sure his memory will live on for a very, very long time into the future.”