Monday, July 22, 2024

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The stallion was “never really attracted to” the Dakar because it rules out future appearances

World Rally Championship star Sebastien Ogier has ruled out collaborating within the Dakar Rally in the long run, claiming he was “never really attracted” to the prospect of competing within the cross-country rally.

Ogier retired from the WRC as a full-time driver at the top of the 2021 season, but continues to compete in a variety of rallies annually, driving a further third/fourth Toyota entry automotive.

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The Frenchman was in a position to show impressive speed even on the age of 40 and took first or second place within the 4 rallies he took part in in 2024.

Ogier's future is a subject that has come up over and over previously, but he has all the time maintained that he just isn’t interested by returning for the complete season.

One of the suggested possibilities is a visit to Dakar, which has develop into a frequent destination for former WRC drivers after withdrawing from the series. Toyota also has a factory presence on the Saudi Arabia rally, making it a logical selection for Ogier.

However, the eight-time WRC champion has made it clear he has no plans to compete within the Dakar in the approaching years, saying he would favor to modify to trace racing as a substitute.

“It wasn't on my list yet,” he said. “I feel I’ll all the time be in favor of testing the automotive. It's all the time a cool experience.

Sébastien Ogier in Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Sébastien Ogier in Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

“But at once I don't know, this race has never really appealed to me that much.

“It needs to be a standard change for rally drivers. In the past, they went to cross-country rallies loads since it was easier to adapt and I might have a greater probability of performing there than here at Le Mans.

“But what I liked more was the challenge of staying on the proper path, working towards a goal and learning something latest. So I feel in the long run, if it's not rallies, I’ll focus again on target and endurance racing slightly than the Dakar.

Since scaling back his involvement within the WRC greater than three years ago, Ogier has dabbled in sports automotive racing, collaborating in three rounds of the World Endurance Championship – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in 2022 in Richard Mille's ORECA 07 LMP2 automotive.

Ogier tested the Toyota GR010 HYBRID twice and was considered for a possible Le Mans debut for the Hypercar in a 3rd automotive, but a further entry from the Japanese manufacturer never materialized.

Ogier made it clear that a return to sports automotive racing just isn’t currently planned as he stays focused on a part-time rally program, but in addition admitted that going to Le Mans last weekend for the 24 Hours of Enduro “gave “I would like to return back” in the long run.

“I mean, never say never. No such plan is being discussed right now,” he said.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo: McKlein / Motorsport images

“But yes, it's true that I feel rally drivers also like racing on the track and I feel it's all the time interesting to learn something latest and gain some experience on the track.

“Even if it's true, you’ll be able to discuss different disciplines. There's all the time a little bit thing you’ll be able to learn on the track that can assist you to develop into a good higher rally driver.

“Call [Rovanpera] he also proved that he’s a particularly fast rally driver. It can be interesting to follow what he learns on the track now.

“At the identical time, I feel that putting rally drivers within the automotive for the 24 Hours of Le Mans can be a bit difficult and demanding. Maybe it could be higher if we were mixed with some experienced track drivers in person, which was the case three years ago.

“I decided to focus a little more on rallying again because my partial rally program suits me very well at the moment. I prefer to stay there. But being there today and obviously seeing it made me want to come back even more someday.”

Two-time and defending WRC champion Rovanpera, who effectively replaced Ogier within the Toyota lineup, has also shown a penchant for track racing after stepping away from his rally commitments this yr ahead of a full return in 2025.

The Finnish driver has expressed his desire to race within the 24 Hours of Le Mans after performing well in two Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux races in Zandvoort earlier this month.

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