World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier has told DirtFish next season will absolutely, definitely, 100% be his last year at rallying’s top flight.
Seven championships in and with a solid shot at title number eight, DirtFish put it to him that a record-equaling ninth crown could be a reason to extend that Toyota Gazoo Racing contract by one more year into 2022.
“It’s very sure that this is just one more year [in 2021],” he said. “People really might think that I could be tempted back again, but honestly I only changed my mind because of this difficult year, this COVID year and very, very short season, otherwise I would have ended my season by the moment we are talking now. There won’t be more seasons after the next one, for sure.”
Ogier said it was the opportunity to spend more time at home this year that had helped him make the decision to return in 2021 – that and not wanting to bring such a spectacular career to and end on the back of such a dismal season.
“The thing is,” he said, “this year I had a lot of time at home, much more than expected. It’s priceless to have the time seeing your children growing. And, somehow, it balanced itself. The time that I was supposed to go away this year hasn’t happened and that’s also the reason in the decision with the family it was easier to say that: “OK, we can do one more as this year was exceptionally free and I spent a lot of time home this year.”
Ogier admitted his quieter-than-expected 2020 reassured him that retiring from the WRC is the right move.
“I think,” he added, “I mentioned earlier at some point that I didn’t really miss rallying or see it at all [during lockdown].
“In that way that also comforted me that I think I’m also ready to go the next step and do something else in my life. But, OK, anyway now, I was in a situation where I wanted to end my career on a nicer way and with a proper season and that’s why I decided now to go for one more.”