What’s it like working with Ogier?

Joining the eight-time WRC champion wasn't a decision Vincent Landais took lightly, but it's already paying dividends


I remember I wrote a column in November last year examining the choice Vincent Landais had just made.

After joining Sébastien Ogier for the season-closing Rally Japan, Landais – who had sat alongside Pierre-Louis Loubet for the 2019 WRC2 champion’s impressive half season for M-Sport Ford – was announced as Ogier’s new co-driver for the 2023 World Rally Championship season.

I didn’t necessarily question the decision Landais had made, but wondered how difficult it must have been for him. Ogier is Ogier – an eight-time World Rally champion – so isn’t exactly somebody you’d say no to, but Loubet was the driver Landais had risen through the ranks with and could offer him a full season. Ogier’s offering was exactly half that.

In short, I didn’t reckon it could have been as clear cut a choice as perhaps it may have appeared.

But as soon as I spoke to Landais last week, I discovered how wrong I was. He only had to use one word, and it became obvious.


Ogier could’ve offered Landais a deal for just the Monte Carlo Rally and you sense Landais would’ve struggled not to accept it.

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“Of course, it wasn’t easy because Pierre-Louis has been my friend for so many years. But then in this kind of world, at this kind of level of sport, you can’t always think about friendship,” Landais explained to DirtFish.

“Séb has been my idol from the beginning so from that side then I couldn’t say no, of course. And also because I want to learn a lot and I need this kind of driver to help me be even better than before.

“So it was a huge opportunity for me to become another co-driver and become even better than before, and to learn a lot. I was dealing with everything in my mind like this and then said ‘what should I do’ and then took this decision.

“But to be honest in the end I took it quite easily and quickly because this kind of opportunity you know that it will only happen once, so I didn’t want to miss it.

“Then it was quite easy for me to decide that I want to be with my idol in the car.”


After a dream win on the Monte Carlo Rally and a maiden performance in Japan that belied their lack of experience together, neither Ogier nor Landais will have any regrets about the decision that was made.

It’s even worked out for Loubet, who’s profiting from the experience of Nicolas Gilsoul aboard his Puma Rally1 this year.

But what’s it like to actually work with Ogier?

“It’s very special because he is different to Pierre-Louis, for sure, because he has much more experience and he is not the same kind of driver,” Landais explained.

“Just sitting alongside him, just observing and watching him working, it’s a lot of new things for me, new habits I have to change from what I did for seven years now. So at the moment I am just observing a lot and learning a lot for sure.

“It’s so different to what I did before, I would say in the car I don’t have the same job. With Pierre-Louis I was helping him with a lot of things to be honest and now it feels like this kind of driver, he doesn’t need any help other than just my job as a co-driver.

“Of course, they like when you push them a bit to get motivated, but at the moment I just feel like I am observing a lot – watching and learning.”

The opportunity Landais has alongside Ogier is incredible – and as he said he is using it as a brilliant way to learn from one of the very best rallying has ever seen to improve his own craft.

But it’s equally an incredible gesture from Ogier to take on somebody less established. Granted, there isn’t the same pressure on him now that he isn’t in contention for titles, but it’s a classy touch for Ogier to nurture growing talent rather than opt for somebody who’s already been there and done that.

“The first real opportunity with Séb was one year ago when he was doing Monte Carlo again, as I was gravel crew with Simon [Jean-Joseph],” Landais said.


“So this was the first time we really met, we kept in touch all the year. When I was competing and he wasn’t he texted me [a] message, like in Sardinia and Greece when we did good result with Pierre-Louis then he just sent me a text to congratulate me.

“But it was a bit sudden when he called me before Spain just to have a test like this because he wanted to try me. Not so much contact before.”

Ogier though, who at this point was competing with Benjamin Veillas in the wake of long-term co-driver Julien Ingrassia’s decision to retire after 2021, had clearly identified something in Landais.

And ever since their partnership began, he’s been very quick to tell the world how impressed he is with his new partner – even admitting that Landais reminded him of Ingrassia in Japan.

Landais may hold Ogier as his idol, but it’s clear Ogier has a huge amount of respect for Landais too.

Already we have this kind of feeling sometimes that we don't need to speak to understand Vincent Landais

“It’s a huge feeling to be honest,” Landais said.

“I feel like with me he’s very strict in the car and he knows what he wants and he tells me what he wants in the car for me to do, but on the other hand in Japan and Monte whenever he gets the chance to tell someone my job is good then he is doing it, so I really appreciate and from him it’s really special to hear about that.”

But what is it that Ogier is asking Landais to do in the car?

“It’s just a few things,” Landais said, “like he has been so used to with Julien for 15 years and I’m doing differently because I’ve got the habits with Pierre-Louis. It’s just about some stupid things.


“In the car it’s working for sure but when this is like this, like on the right side not the left side of the car, this is stupid but it’s these kinds of things.

“So if I’m having to put this thing in my co-driver bag but he prefers me to put it on the dashboard, then he asks me and I do it.

“It’s just these very few things like this that he’s asking me to change, but he says it only once and I do it immediately so then it’s perfect because I’m just adapting myself so quickly to him.”

And these “stupid things” will be ironed out with the more rallies they do together.

“Yeah. The next rally, which will be México, it will be even better and better and better after rallies because of course the main thing that is already nice with him, together we don’t need to speak to understand each other.


“And this is, for me, [important] because I was feeling this with Pierre-Louis and I think he was feeling the same with Julien, but already we have this kind of feeling sometimes that we don’t need to speak to understand.

“I feel this will be even better after some rallies.”

Synergy, then, absolutely hasn’t been a problem – and you can tell that from the outside. Ogier and Landais’ adaptation period has been far less obvious to the naked eye than, for example, Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe’s two years ago where Wydaeghe had to learn to refine his pronunciation to Neuville’s liking.


Maybe some of that is down to how close Landais is with Ingrassia.

“Yeah we are very close to be honest, but even before this happened we were very close before because as I mentioned Séb was my idol but Julien as well of course because he has been my role model of working,” Landais explained.

“Then we have been very close and of course since Japan even more, and for me I couldn’t expect that it would be so nice to have this kind of guy around me.

“He’s like a big brother helping me – if I need anything then he will be here for me.”


That picture with Ogier, Landais and Ingrassia all standing together just after Ogier’s record-breaking Monte Carlo Rally victory and Landais’ first in the WRC was therefore even more special than we all realized.

“For Séb it must be very special because he has two co-drivers that he has been winning with. I didn’t hear but it looks like on the podium he was saying that it was a good weekend with Julien in the car, and then straight away he said ‘Vincent… sorry!’ It was very nice.”

In two rallies, for Ogier to be forgetting that his new co-driver is actually new is the ultimate compliment to Landais.

“[There’s] no pressure because we know what we want to be honest,” Landais concluded.

“I will have the same pressure as Monte Carlo [in México] but OK I like this job because I have the pressure to be honest.”

Co-driving for a driver like Ogier is a demanding task, but Landais is clearly more than up to it. Ogier will expect perfection, but he’s not having to ask for it because his right-hand-man is basically already delivering it.