Sébastien Ogier gets it now. After a day in the woods near Jyväskylä, the Frenchman understands Toyota’s domination of the World Rally Championship’s fastest rally with the latest generation of cars.
Three months on from when he stepped out of his new Yaris WRC, having won a shortened Rally México to move to the top of the WRC standings, Ogier was back behind the wheel. And, once he’d dialled his head into Finland’s level of speed, he was loving it.
“The first run has been strange,” Ogier told DirtFish. “Honestly, for that kind of road you need to be in the rhythm and the first one felt quite fast, but very quickly I realise how good this car is here. You feel that the car’s been tested a lot on those roads and it’s a nice feeling to drive here.
“In the last years I drive the Ford Fiesta or the Citroën and I think we have seen the Yaris was the fastest on the last editions [of Rally Finland]. I sense this now.”
Asked how much he would like to have moved on from Tuesday’s test and started this year’s Rally Finland, Ogier said: “Of course we were looking forward [to Finland]. For me and for the whole team it was going to be a highlight of the year. It’s a shame it’s been canceled now.
“Mainly we hope there will be some more events, we want to be back to action to fight for the championship.
“We had a good start of the season, it seems strange to talk about the start of the season – it felt so long ago now. Every day we do with this car makes us feel more and more at home. The last result was good from Mexico and now we want to keep moving forward with this momentum.”
Ogier took over Toyota’s test Yaris WRC from Kalle Rovanperä and will hand it over to Welshman Elfyn Evans, who concludes the Puuppola squad’s three-day test on Wednesday.
And Toyota Gazoo Racing, in case it’s slipped your mind, has won every Rally Finland since 2017, with Esapekka Lappi taking the ’17 event and Ott Tänak bossing the last two.