In 2010, Sebastian Ogier was the new child on the block. A prodigious talent racing for the Citroen junior team, the Frenchman had all the makings of a winner.
From the second he stepped on to the WRC scene in 2008 he was earning waves, profitable the to start with distinctive stage he competed in in the top division.
Two several years afterwards, on the fast and flowing New Zealand roadways, a triumphant first victory appeared confident.
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That was until finally a miscalculation on the closing Whaanga Coast stage cruelled his hopes. Instead, it was Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala who took the earn by just 2.4 seconds just after 3 days of racing.
Extra than a decade on with 54 wins, 92 podium finishes, much more than 600 stage triumphs, and eight FIA World Rally Championships to his identify, Ogier is back again in New Zealand.
Rally New Zealand continues to be just one of just a several rallies the motor racing icon hasn’t conquered.
It really is a scenario of unfinished business for the now 38-year-outdated, who, ironically, now drives for the Toyota team led by Latvala.
“Back then, it was a little bit bitter, for absolutely sure,” Ogier informed the Below The Helmet podcast.
“It was hard to consider. But luckily a few weeks later on I obtained my to start with win in the WRC in Portugal. So I failed to have to hold out so a lot lengthier.
“Preparing for the event this calendar year, I was observing some of the onboards from the time, in particular the well known Whaanga Coast phase, which we are likely to do once more this yr.
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“I viewed the 30 kilometres, which was the last stage of the rally in 2010, and I was looking at that I was definitely hot, to be truthful.
“There had been a couple of times by means of the stage where by I was definitely on the limit and regretably I spun three corners ahead of the stop, and that price tag me my very first get.
“To glimpse at that now, to seem back, it is really however a great memory. Like I say, I’m seriously wanting ahead to driving people streets once more because they seem gorgeous.
“For guaranteed, motorsport is brutal. There are a lot of examples in this activity that show you it is in no way about right until it can be over.
“Right up until you have crossed the end line, just about anything can happen. That was in some way a lesson again then.
“I was youthful, I was pushing, and possibly not realizing specifically nevertheless how to take care of all those sorts of conditions – when you need to drive and when not.
“It was a fantastic discovering and now for positive, the program is to check out and be aggressive this yr once more, even while I have been a few months out of the championship.
“The obstacle will be to come across my rhythm as quickly as achievable at the begin of the rally. The strategy is to check out and struggle for the acquire yet again.”
Ogier has savored a affluent career in the WRC, winning each and every title bar 2018 between 2013 and 2021.
The to start with four from 2013 to 2016 arrived with Volkswagen in advance of continuing that dominance with Ford in 2017 and 2018.
A disappointing year by his standards followed in 2019 with Citroen, ending third total.
His two total seasons with Toyota to day have been fruitful far too, winning the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
At the conclusion of final time, Ogier introduced his retirement from full-time opposition.
Nonetheless, the allure of New Zealand was as well solid and he produced sure to increase it to his section-time routine.
“To be straightforward, I am seriously wanting forward to coming again to New Zealand,” stated Ogier.
“The real truth is, I’ve only been there when in my career simply because however the previous 12 yrs New Zealand was not on the calendar in the WRC.
“I have been lacking it, so I have these types of a good memory from my only begin in Auckland.
“I bear in mind these stunning roads, gorgeous flowing items of street which are so satisfying to drive with the entire world rally automobile.
“Of program, when I read it was coming back in the championship, I surely planned it in my partial championship.”
Coverage of Rally New Zealand, Round 11 of the FIA Entire world Rally Championship, will be are living, special and advertisement-free of charge on Stan Activity.
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