Sébastien Ogier thinks that there might be “extra uncertainty than ever” when the 2022 WRC season kicks off subsequent month at Rallye Monte-Carlo. A state of affairs that he justifies by the difficulties in making the brand new automobiles that meet the Rally1 rules extra dependable.
Final weekend, the eight-time World Champion examined the brand new Toyota GR Yaris for 2 days with a purpose to put together for the primary rally of the season, the one occasion wherein he has entered subsequent season to this point. He is found his new hybrid-powered mount, and the 37-year-old expects reliability to play a significant function, a minimum of firstly of the following championship.
“I feel within the first weeks of the season reliability can play a much bigger function as these automobiles are very current and we’re seeing massive progress being made in each apply session”, explains the French. “It’s attainable that in comparison with final season it might play a much bigger function, however I’ve no doubts that the crew will work laborious and reach evolving this automobile in efficiency and reliability. We now have to be sincere about it. occurring Monte Carlo: there is a massive query mark for everybody and extra uncertainty than ever, I feel. “
Sébastien Ogier gained his final two world titles, in 2020 and 2021, with the predecessor of the GR Yaris Rally1. When evaluating the 2 variations, the French driver admits that the brand new one represents “a step again when it comes to efficiency” however don’t doubt the room for enchancment obtainable to all groups with Rally1 rules. The latter supplies automobiles able to deploying as much as 500 hp when the hybrid system is used.
“I feel it’s important to be blunt, it is a step again in efficiency, the automobiles are slower and heavier, and the technical rules are a bit extra restrictive in numerous methods.”, explains Sébastien Ogier. “However for me, a very powerful factor is that so long as everyone seems to be racing with the identical tools, the competitors might be thrilling.”
“I am additionally assured that the automobile will progress shortly and I feel we have seen with the final era of automobiles that they weren’t as quick as they had been on the finish of 2021, in comparison with 2017 after they arrived. I actually consider the method would be the similar with these automobiles. “
“When there’s the increase [hybride], for positive it is enjoyable. All of us love having energy and it was enjoyable to expertise. The reality is we do not have it on a regular basis and general we now have to be sincere and say we’re slower than final yr. I feel there’s nonetheless room for enchancment and it is going to be thrilling to observe the way it evolves. However on the finish of the day, the attention-grabbing problem is to adapt as shortly as attainable and progress sooner than others. “
Interview by Tom Howard