Newly crowned seven-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier has told DirtFish that his incredible career statistics aren’t as important to him as they used to be and he simply just wants to be the “best of my time”.
Ogier won his seventh world championship title in eight years on last weekend’s Monza Rally, turning a 14-point deficit into an eight point advantage over Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans after the Welshman slipped off the road and down a bank on the rally’s penultimate leg.
Seven world titles cements Ogier’s second place in the records – three ahead of next-closest Juha Kankkunen and outgoing team principal Tommi Mäkinen and now just two behind former team-mate Sébastien Loeb’s tally of nine.
But he also equalled Kankkunen in winning three titles for three different manufacturers. The Finn won with Peugeot (1986), Lancia (1987, 1991) and Toyota (1993) while Ogier has now triumphed with Volkswagen (2013-16), M-Sport Ford (2017-18) and Toyota (2020).
When this statistic was put to him by DirtFish’s Colin Clark, Ogier admitted he was “thinking about this stuff” on Saturday evening before saying the emotions of winning the title are more important than what it means numerically.
Instead, Ogier just wants to ensure he is the most complete and successful driver of his generation.
“Earlier in my career I was looking at statistics [and] I was thinking OK it’s important,” Ogier said. “Today I don’t put so much more importance on it.
“Of course I am happy when they are looking nice but also, I’m the first one always to say statistics are nice for media, fans, a lot of people but the truth is you cannot really compare each period of time, generations.
“So most important for me is [to] try to be the best of my time and [the] statistics then they are nice, it’s great it looks good, but most importantly I think I’m enjoying more and more and I realise the most important [thing] is to leave this emotion with the people you are [working with].
“I have to say seven is a nice number for sure but numbers are numbers, I would say most important is emotions that we just have the chance to lead one more time with the third different bunch of people,” Ogier added.
“Some of them are actually the same as the whole time with Volkswagen, but it was a new adventure for us this season with a new team and we ended up on top one more time, [it] definitely feels great.
“It’s been a special year, shorter than we would have loved to. In the other hand, you’ll have to deal with me one more year because that gave me the wish to carry on and try to finish on the real season next year, a longer one. But today obviously is still a good day for us,” he said on Sunday after winning the title.
Ogier finished third to Ott Tänak last year after a difficult one-season return to Citroën, the first time he had been beaten to the WRC title since 2013 when Loeb retired from full-time competition in the WRC.
Asked if Ogier was getting better year after year, co-driver Julien Ingrassia told DirtFish that “the numbers are speaking”.
He said: “We know the competition is very strong and we have a lot of very top drivers and co-drivers but I’m very impressed each time.
“We face, especially [this weekend], such rough conditions with so much pressure because at one point we have it [the title secured] and not to make any mistake and to be able to drive those cars at those speeds at the millimeter at each corner it’s amazing.”