Ogier vs Loeb rematch will happen in Portugal

Sébastien Ogier will compete on Rally Portugal for his first gravel event in a Rally1 car


Sébastien Ogier will take another shot at becoming the most successful driver in the history of Rally Portugal, joining Toyota’s lineup for the next round of the World Rally Championship.

Toyota outlined its plans for Ogier to DirtFish before the official announcement came later on Monday, with the reigning world champion heading back to the WRC for the first time since he finished second on the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.

The May 19-22 event, which marks Ogier’s gravel debut in a hybrid Rally1 car, is one of Ogier’s favorites and comes with special memories of his maiden WRC victory in 2010. He has won the rally a further four times to score five victories in total – an achievement he shares with Markku Alén.


Ogier’s entry means Esapekka Lappi will step aside for round four of this year’s WRC as his team-mate goes head-to-head with countryman and fellow French rally icon Sébastien Loeb for the second time this year.

Loeb’s entry aboard an M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Puma Rally1 Hybrid was confirmed earlier this month.

A senior Toyota source told DirtFish: “Séb has always talked about Portugal as one of the events he enjoys and I think he has pretty much confirmed he’ll be there. We’ll confirm it in the week – we’ll also have more details of the program for the remainder of the year.”

Ogier is blending his WRC effort with World Endurance Championship commitments this season. With news of his Richard Mille Racing LMP2 effort now in place, his rallying timetable will follow.

Previously, Ogier has talked about Sardinia, Kenya and Japan being favorable – with New Zealand and or Greece also thought possible. Only the Aichi-based Rally Japan would clash, with the WEC calendar visiting Bahrain on the same weekend.

There are still no details on which rallies Ogier, and conversely Lappi, will do later in the year, but Lappi told DirtFish on Sunday “our team will announce it next [this] week”.