Why Ogier thinks a WRC title without Rovanperä has value

Eight-time champion says it’s too early to judge the scale of the fight for next year’s WRC title


Sébastien Ogier knows a thing or two about winning world championships. He’s done it eight times. So, when he offers an opinion on a season-long campaign, it’s worth listening to.

There’s been an awful lot of chatter since Kalle Rovanperä’s decision to tackle a limited program of events next year was made public. Once the shock had subsided, attention turned to next season and what that meant for the 2024 world champion.

How valuable will that title be without the defending champ? Sébastien Ogier has been there and done that. He wore his maiden crown the first year Sébastien Loeb stepped down from full-time WRC participation.

For the best part of a decade, Ogier has dominated the sport before he, himself, stepped back in 2022 – the first year Rovanperä won the title.

“We shouldn’t take any conclusion too early on that the value of the title next year will be any less,” Ogier told DirtFish. “Let’s watch and see what happens through next year – the world championship always has a value, a special value.

“Kalle not going to be there for every event removes a big contender for the title and Elfyn becomes our team leader [for the drivers’ championship]. Probably his main competition will be from Thierry [Neuville] and Ott [Tänak]. It’s three, but this can be a fight – like I said, let’s not take a conclusion too early.”

Six Rally1 drivers are set to embark on a full program of WRC rounds next season with Takamoto Katsuta alongside Evans at Toyota, Neuville and Tänak from Hyundai and Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster from M-Sport.