Ogier not giving up on seventh WRC title despite deficit

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier says he has not given up on taking a seventh FIA World Rally Championship title this season, despite a costly retirement on last month’s Rally Turkey.

Ogier lost his lead in the drivers’ standings to Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans when his Yaris WRC was struck down by terminal engine failure on the penultimate stage of the Turkish event, having earlier had problems when his car dropped from four- to two-wheel-drive on the second day of the event.

It means Ogier heads into this weekend’s Rally Italy with an 18-point deficit to Evans with just two rounds of the truncated season remaining – the Ypres Rally in mid-November set to conclude the campaign. However, the Frenchman insists that everything is still up for grabs unless the series is further affected by coronavirus.

“We are in a situation where we don’t know much about the future – all is uncertain,” he said. “But if we do the two rallies like they are planned so far, then there are still 60 points to catch, so everything is still possible, and as long as there will be a mathematical chance [of winning], we will keep fighting.”

Veteran Ogier believes he is doing everything that is required of him to win a seventh WRC crown, as he bids to close the gap to nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb.

“I think so far we are doing the job – we haven’t done any real major mistake this season, and we are definitely doing what we have to do to stay in contention for the title,” said the 36-year-old. “I think in Turkey we had a good speed and we were doing what we had to do to leave there with very good points for the championship but it didn’t work out.

“Motivation is definitely not an issue – of course, it’s a parameter that evolves through the years, and it’s not the same when you fight for the first title and when you fight for the seventh one, but I don’t have any issue with motivation.”

Reigning WRC champion Ott Tanak and the third Toyota of Kalle Rovanpera are nine points behind Ogier in the standings, while Tanak’s Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville is a further five points back heading into the Italian contest.

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