Ogier: King of the long game

Six-time champion is being outpaced by his Toyota team-mates but isn't alarmed


In Monte Carlo, he was only just the top Toyota after a tight rally-long fight. In Sweden, he was third-best of the three factory Yaris WRCs.

Sébastien Ogier is already having some unusual experiences alongside Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä in what is due to be his final WRC season.

But there’s no hint of alarm from the six-time WRC champion. That’s not how you win those six titles, after all.

And while you could look at Ogier’s 2020 so far as a tale of the old master being left behind by his team’s new stars, he’s sat poised in the championship battle just five points behind joint leaders Evans and Thierry Neuville – and with a not-too-painful third on the road starting position for Mexico next month.

“It’s clear, the target of the season is the championship definitely,” Ogier told DirtFish’s Colin Clark as he reflected on being beaten to third in Sweden by Rovanperä in a powerstage duel.

“Had it been a fight for victory I would probably fight harder for it, that’s clear, but that’s how it is.

“At this point of the season you don’t necessarily want to lead the championship, you want to score consistent good points and stay close and now I think we are in a good position to fight for Mexico, so that’s good.”

A look at Ogier’s championship history backs his theory.

Apart from in 2015 and 2016, when he had already notched up ludicrous leads after just two rounds, he has generally left Sweden either behind in the points or only marginally ahead.

He’s not exactly hanging back and letting his team-mates beat him right now, though. He admitted Rovanperä had simply beaten him on raw pace in their showdown.

“It’s not ideal, definitely, we cannot say we are enjoying being fourth but it’s still positive to score 15 points,” said Ogier.

“On the powerstage I drove a little bit too much with my head and Kalle was just better, he really went for it and he did a beautiful time so he deserved the podium.

“Of course it’s better to have strong guys with you in the team than to have them in the opposition.

“I think Toyota has a very strong line-up this season. Kalle has done well and Elfyn even better. Elfyn was driving fantastically this weekend.”