In 2010, Sebastian Ogier was the new kid on the block. A prodigious talent racing for the Citroen junior workforce, the Frenchman had all the makings of a champion.
From the instant he stepped onto the WRC scene in 2008 he was generating waves, successful the first distinctive stage he competed in in the major division.
Two a long time later on, on the quick and flowing New Zealand streets, a triumphant 1st victory appeared assured.
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That was till a mistake on the ultimate Whaanga Coast phase cruelled his hopes. Rather, it was Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala who took the acquire by just 2.4 seconds following 3 days of racing.
Much more than a decade on with 54 wins, 92 podium finishes, additional than 600 phase triumphs, and eight FIA World Rally Championships to his identify, Ogier is back in New Zealand.
Rally New Zealand continues to be a person of just a few rallies the motor racing icon hasn’t conquered.
It is a situation of unfinished business for the now 38-yr-aged, who, ironically, now drives for the Toyota group led by Latvala.
“Again then, it was a bit bitter, for positive,” Ogier told the Below The Helmet podcast.
“It was tough to choose. But luckily for us three months later I acquired my 1st acquire in the WRC in Portugal. So I failed to have to wait so considerably longer.
“Planning for the function this year, I was looking at some of the onboards from the time, in particular the renowned Whaanga Coastline phase, which we are likely to do once more this yr.
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“I watched the 30 kilometres, which was the final stage of the rally in 2010, and I was looking at that I was actually scorching, to be truthful.
“There were a few of moments via the stage in which I was definitely on the limit and sadly I spun 3 corners before the end, and that price me my first win.
“To seem at that now, to appear again, it can be continue to a superior memory. Like I say, I am actually on the lookout forward to driving people roadways once again for the reason that they appear beautiful.
“For absolutely sure, motorsport is brutal. There are several examples in this sport that exhibit you it truly is never ever in excess of until eventually it truly is more than.
“Until eventually you have crossed the finish line, nearly anything can take place. That was somehow a lesson back again then.
“I was young, I was pushing, and most likely not recognizing particularly nevertheless how to take care of these sorts of scenarios – when you need to have to thrust and when not.
“It was a great studying and now for certain, the strategy is to try and be aggressive this calendar year all over again, even while I have been 3 months out of the championship.
“The problem will be to find my rhythm as quickly as feasible at the start of the rally. The prepare is to check out and combat for the gain once more.”
Ogier has liked a affluent vocation in the WRC, profitable every single title bar 2018 concerning 2013 and 2021.
The to start with four from 2013 to 2016 arrived with Volkswagen just before continuing that dominance with Ford in 2017 and 2018.
A disappointing season by his specifications followed in 2019 with Citroen, ending 3rd total.
His two entire seasons with Toyota to day have been fruitful as well, profitable the 2020 and 2021 strategies.
At the close of previous year, Ogier declared his retirement from complete-time competitiveness.
On the other hand, the allure of New Zealand was also solid and he made absolutely sure to insert it to his section-time routine.
“To be genuine, I am seriously hunting forward to coming back again to New Zealand,” said Ogier.
“The truth of the matter is, I have only been there the moment in my job simply because unfortunately the past 12 several years New Zealand was not on the calendar in the WRC.
“I’ve been lacking it, so I have this kind of a fantastic memory from my only get started in Auckland.
“I remember these beautiful roads, stunning flowing parts of street which are so pleasing to push with the world rally motor vehicle.
“Of program, when I read it was coming back in the championship, I surely prepared it in my partial championship.”
Coverage of Rally New Zealand, Spherical 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship, will be dwell, exceptional and advert-free of charge on Stan Activity.
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