Sébastien Ogier didn’t want to start the debate. Too late. Consider the debate started.
Talking about the next round of the World Rally Championship, the Ypres Rally, Ogier admitted he knew nothing of the stages. He just wondered if it was the same story for everybody.
“On the stages, we are obviously not allowed to go there,” he said. “I hope it was the same for everybody, by the way.”
Asked to explain himself, Ogier added: “Well, I don’t know, just that the [Hyundai] team manager [Alain Penasse] is the organizer of the rally, it’s a bit weird.
“Anyway, I don’t want to start this debate. We are going to prepare as much as we can with the tools we have in hand and see what we can do.”
Penasse offered an impassive response to Ogier’s words, telling DirtFish: “Everybody knows my job and my relationship with Ypres, so it was not something we consider as news.”
One thing Penasse has been clear about is the fact that he won’t work on the roads to stop the cars from cutting corners. Several rallies have put in, so called, anti-cutting devices in an effort to keep the cars on the road. That won’t happen in Ypres.
“Can you imagine if we started to put in these things on the insides of the corners then it would be a titanic amount of work – there are so many corners,” Penasse said. “And the character of this event is not like this.
“We don’t want to start to put obstacles on [side of] the road. What happens if somebody hits one and it then hits a spectator?”
Asked if this would hand an advantage to Toyota’s championship leader Elfyn Evans, Penasse replied: “It will be November and the farmers will be moving around in the fields, the roads are never clean at this time of the year.
“Then we have the zero cars going through first; OK maybe it will be less dirty for car number one than the fifth car on the road, but it won’t be clean for the first [car].”
Ypres Rally runs from November 19-22.