In his own words, Sébastien Ogier has been on a rollercoaster in Croatia. He’s crashed, he’s nearly crashed, he’s had punctures, talked to the police, lost his lead and looked down the barrel. But ultimately, he came out on top. He won.
And now, he’s back at the top of the table. Here’s how a crazy race and a mad Sunday rolled out for the seven-time World Rally Champion. In his own words.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for us this weekend. I didn’t expect to win the rally with everything that happened.
“Still, in this moment, it’s a bit crazy. But, OK, in this moment, I felt for Elfyn. He was very strong the whole weekend – but I don’t think we stole that one either.
“We’d been fast the whole weekend, [only] a couple of issues along the way slowed us down. At the end of the day, the most important isn’t the 1-2 [for Toyota], but that everyone is safe from this morning. I hurt my back a little bit, it was a pretty big hit. I didn’t see it coming at all. That’s the most important thing today.”
The road accident
“We were at the traffic line, just restarted slowly and I was planning to park on the side and someone was coming very fast on the right line.
“I couldn’t see it coming with the speed and he hit us in the door. For sure, in the moment, I needed some seconds to realize what happened. I didn’t even see the car passing. Like… it was crazy. Then we checked, of course, that the person was OK, and he was.
“He was in a bit of shock of course. But then in this moment, we had to explain a bit everything, gave him our all of our contacts, say [to him], ‘it’s OK, no worry, we will solve that – maybe after the rally, because we have timing to respect’.
“It was a bit hard to explain but then the team manager came and also supported us in that way. Luckily we could carry on the rally.”
Julien Ingrassia’s side of things
“Yeah definitely for him [it was a bit uncomfortable]. There was some gap in the door. Luckily the door was not too damaged, the main protection, the rollcage was OK, it was not damaged at all. For safety, it was still OK.
“There was some dirt coming in so that’s why you’ve seen him reading the pacenotes with googles like a ski mask, so he didn’t get dirt in his eyes.”
And finally, the finale…
“The powerstage was flat out. I was maybe not completely into it, [there was] a bit of shock in the morning to start the day.
“Obviously, the car was maybe not 100%. On the second-last stage, I pushed very hard. I thought if I don’t win this one, then I thought the fight was over to be honest. But this last stage was so crazy with the conditions.
“For sure, it’s the kind of stage where things can happen and differences can be made and we’ve seen on the first loop that Elfyn had an incredible time. We had to push because the plan was to at least save my second place and then [it was] a good surprise that it transformed into a victory.”