Ogier explains his Acropolis Rally exit

Ogier had to retire his Toyota after Saturday's last stage, but it turns out the trouble started long before then


Sébastien Ogier has explained the sequence of events that led to him retiring from Acropolis Rally Greece after Saturday’s final stage.

The Toyota driver took the lead of the event when Thierry Neuville retired with broken suspension on the first stage of the afternoon, and Ogier then had a defendable margin over team-mate and reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä.

Heading into the day-ending Eleftherochori test, Ogier was 12.4 seconds ahead of Rovanperä, who had appeared content to settle for second with the title in mind.

But SS12 proved disastrous for Ogier who lost four minutes with two rear punctures and broken rear-left suspension.

The eight-time world champion wouldn’t comment to the stage-end reporter about what had happened, but once he returned (late) to the service park he opened up to the media and revealed that the same hole that sidelined Neuville was where his afternoon first unravelled.


“The whole afternoon was actually quite eventful,” Ogier said.

“It started actually I think the same corner Thierry had his issue, I also had an impact in this place because it’s quite hard to avoid this hole, and my front-right wishbone was also a bit damaged.

“But obviously it was still drivable and I managed to fix it and I was still managing to have a good pace on this stage and also on the next one.

“Unfortunately then coming to the regroup, when we restarted out from the regroup there was no hybrid anymore, that’s quite a miracle also that it’s working all the time.

“The guy from Compact Dynamics was coming with his computer, checked that it’s all OK and he restarted and it’s gone. I think they do quite a good job… and then yeah obviously I knew I will lose a bit of time on this stage without hybrid, but that wasn’t the biggest issue we had at the end because after a couple of kilometers we started to have one puncture in the rear and almost straight away after that the second one appeared, so we had double puncture on the rear.


“And then I just decided to carry on slowly and I had two minutes to lose and still stay in second place, so it was supposed to be OK.

“But unfortunately exit of a hairpin, I don’t know [if] it looks like one of the smoothest of this stage which was very rough, a very small bank I hit on the rear and my upright was broken. So from that moment that was then very difficult to carry on.”

Ogier and co-driver Vincent Landais got out of their Toyota Yaris Rally1 to inspect the damage, initially expecting just to change a puncture. But once they saw the rear-right wheel sitting at a funny angle, they knew the problem was more severe.

Once they had cleared the stage, the two Frenchmen attempted to repair the car so that they could make it back to service and secure fourth place overall.

But eventually they had to concede defeat and retire.


Ogier said: “You know I always try my best to bring the car and make the best result possible for the team, and even if unfortunately it was not the one I wanted, I’m not fighting for a podium anymore, I still did my best to try to fix it even when if it was very difficult.

“When an upright is broken it’s very hard to bring the car back but I tried everything I could with some spanners and we managed to do a couple of kilometers, but then it was only 12km to go from the service, we could have almost made it but then it started to be not decent to continue because we were losing a lot of parts.

“The wheel was still turning, it was still within the rules, but it was too much. It was extremely hot and at some point it started a little fire on the corner because it was rubbing everything. I tried as long as I could but at some point I had to stop.”

Ogier’s retirement drops him to ninth place overall, should he restart, and he does intend to return for Sunday’s three stages.

“Of course we will continue tomorrow,” he said.

“There is still a powerstage where we might be able to take some points for the team, so that’s not what we wanted to do this weekend but I think before the race in all the interviews everyone asked me what do you need to win here?

“I say for sure the one thing you need a lot here is luck, and unfortunately with the eventful afternoon I had it looks like the luck was not really on my side.

“Somehow since I’m not doing championships anymore I think the luck has lost me a little bit and maybe that’s the price to pay when you’re not doing the full-time season!” Ogier laughed.

“But for sure it’s never nice. In the other hand there is still two cars from the team on the podium, Kalle was doing a great job anyway so it’s not… we cannot say that he has stolen this victory.

“From first on the road yesterday he has done everything he could so it’s nothing to say about that, but of course I would have loved to carry on fighting with him until the end.”