Not even the prospect of an astonishing 10th win can persuade Sébastien Ogier to think about the Monte Carlo Rally right now. It’s family time.
With another World Rally Championship season done, the eight-time world champion is all about rest and relaxation before he heads to the Alps next month. And heads for home, with the Monte shifting its service park back to Gap for the January 25-28 event.
“With my experience now, I’m really fortunate that I’m able to disconnect between the races,” Ogier told DirtFish. “I will take some time with my family and relax, maybe some skiing with my son in Austria. For Monte, I will start to think about it, let’s say, when I have my test day for the event.
“It’s important to relax between the events.”
While Monte might not be at the forefront of his mind, it’s helped shape Ogier’s story down the years.
“It will always be a magical event for me,” said the Toyota star. “And now the target is to win it for the 10th time – that’s something I could never have imagined when I started out in this sport.
“I can’t say I’m looking forward to it right now, like I told you I have some downtime coming, but when the expectation starts to build then it’s really something.
“Monte will always be something special for me. At the beginning the emotion was even stronger and the stress was probably bigger because it was definitely an event where I wanted to perform more than anybody else. I’m a bit more relaxed now.”
While next year’s Monte won’t be based in Moncao, the principality will still host the start and finish ceremonies. And following a Thursday evening ceremonial start, the crews will be straight into the stages with Thoard-Saint-Geniez and Bayons-Bréziers both run in darkness before the cars arrive in Gap for the overnight ahead of Friday’s first full day through the Hautes Alpes.