From 2004 to 2021, the Sébastiens marked the World Rally Championship with their affect, successful nearly all of the titles with 9 coronations to the credit score of Sébastien Loeb and eight to the counter of Sébastien Ogier. Now aged 47 and 38 respectively, the 2 Frenchmen have simply dominated the 2022 version of the Monte-Carlo Rally, narrowly received by Loeb, when they’re not even engaged within the WRC full-time. The title contenders had been powerless in opposition to their elders.
Comparisons are nearly inevitable between these two legends, and it is one thing Ogier skilled from his debut within the prime flight and his maiden title in 2013 as Loeb took a step again with the WRC.
Thus, when requested how he knew he may grow to be one of many best rally drivers, Ogier explains: “Truthfully, it took some time to [ça]. I need to say that for many of my profession, I needed to compose and dwell within the shadow of an excellent champion referred to as Sébastien Loeb. And it is at all times been troublesome to make your house, as a result of it is true that originally, already, we had been at all times in contrast as a result of our background may be very, very comparable. Inevitably, when somebody has received 9 World Champion titles and also you begin, even if you grow to be champion, you’re at all times overshadowed by saying that it’s a must to look a lot additional.
“I feel I’ve at all times had this fashion of compensating, the ‘constructive angle’ of claiming that to win, it’s a must to be satisfied your self to get there, that is apparent. I’ve at all times proven, exterior, loads of confidence – though deep down inside I at all times questioned myself deeply, even in occasions once I was successful, and I feel that is what saved me going for thus lengthy .”
“Afterwards, there was perhaps a second once I had the possibility to win a number of titles and discover myself on this place the place I’ve increasingly more rest as a result of I not felt within the place of somebody who had one thing to show. After which, it doesn’t matter what, I feel I at all times lived extra for myself than for others, in the long run. It is also vital to be personally comfortable, and to not put strain on your self to say that individuals anticipate this or that efficiency from you.”
Sébastien Ogier on the 2022 Monte-Carlo Rally
Regardless of similarities between their trajectories, Loeb received his 9 titles with Citroën whereas Ogier was topped on the wheel of a Volkswagen, a Ford from the M-Sport workforce or a Toyota. The present driver of the Japanese model, who began with Citroën alongside Loeb till 2011, has been enriched by these many cultures.
“Beginning in kind of 100% French at Citroën, then Volkswagen, which was primarily German however very worldwide, for example, then the English at Malcolm Wilson [chez M-Ford, ndlr] after which there, at the moment, a ‘Japanese-Finnish’ workforce [avec l’écurie Toyota menée par Jari-Matti Latvala et basée à Jyväskylä]…” lists Ogier. “It is true that I additionally actually appreciated the Japanese tradition of respect and it is very nice to work collectively.”
As for realizing why he doesn’t attempt to go for a ninth or perhaps a tenth title, which might permit him to equal or surpass Loeb, whereas he clearly retains the mandatory stage of efficiency, Ogier is a thinker.
“I feel the comparability with Seb Loeb, anyway, no matter occurs, it should at all times be there”, he believes. “There’ll at all times be the Loeb clan, the Ogier clan, which may have parts to go someway. He has 9 titles, I’ve eight with three completely different producers, effectively, we every have our information. After which in my eyes, at the moment, it is probably not an important factor.”
Sébastien Ogier may take part in different rallies this season, however this isn’t his precedence, as he needs to spend extra time along with his household and uncover circuit racing. He has already accomplished two exams on the wheel of the Toyota Hypercar.
Interview by William Zinck