With the 2022 season coming to a close, so too is Sébastien Ogier’s first as a part-time driver since he stepped down from a regular role at the end of last year.
But unlike some drivers who step down when they can no longer fight at the front, Ogier took the decision to shift away from the World Rally Championship when he was still arguably in his prime, right after taking his eighth title.
And even in the four rallies he has completed this year so far, the Toyota driver has finished outside the top-five on just one occasion, showing he’s still got what it takes to be a front runner.
However, when asked if he could return to the service park in a full-time role next year, Ogier was certain that it won’t be any different from 2022.
“No that’s definitely not [the case]. I explained that many times already,” he said.
“I still love this sport and I love to be here a couple of times in the year, I think it’s a great chance for me to still have fun with my passion.
“But I love my family and my son even more, so at some points I want to be at home, I want to see the moments that you never catch back, and I don’t know, at the end in this sport I still have some years in front of me to compete.”
Although the 38-year-old wasn’t completely against the idea of coming back to a regular WRC role in the coming years, he said he still has his eyes set on the plan that is in place for now.
“I couldn’t tell you 100% I will never come back full-time but it really looks like at the moment I don’t see any plan to make it different,” he explained.
“I’m glad that Toyota offers me the chance to compete partially like now and I think for both sides it’s an interesting situation, so yeah the plan is to carry on like this I would say.”
So, if not rallying, what else is on the cards for Ogier?
This year he’s been a familiar face in the World Endurance Championship paddock, racing in the LMP2 class with the Richard Mille Racing Team. This included an outing in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
I couldn't tell you 100% I will never come back full-time but it really looks like at the moment I don't see any plan to make it differentSébastien Ogier
And it’s not been a bad experience for him at that, finishing Le Mans ninth in class and 13th overall.
Despite this, Ogier said there are no firm plans for racing in the WEC next year, given the amount of commitment that is needed.
“With racing there is no real plan at the moment to be honest because it’s not so easy,” he said.
“This year I really enjoyed this opportunity and I really loved it, and like I say I would love to do it again – especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“But I also understand you cannot do it partially like this, you either do it full or not, and as I also still enjoy doing these rallies it’s difficult to find the good compromise or the good setup.
“So, I think at the moment probably maybe still a bit more focused on rally but we’ll see what the future brings.”
Ogier will complete the upcoming final two rounds of the WRC season, with his 2023 schedule yet to be decided.