2013 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Ogier’s innate mastery in a World
Rally Car was exposed when he rattled
Citroën’s cage as then-seven-time WRC
champ Sebastien Loeb’s 2011 teammate.
Like Loeb before him, Gap-born Ogier
had been nurtured by French motorsport’s
governing body, the FFSA, then taken
under the wing of Citroën in 2009 and
placed in its new WRC Junior Team. He
was promoted to the full factory team for
2011 and the sparks soon flew. Not only
did the new Seb prove a worthy rival to his
namesake, but his refusal to play the
game and play second fiddle to Citroën’s
chosen one led to a major deterioration in
their entente cordiale. Loeb did take his
eighth title, but the Citroën management
had seen enough. Ogier was out.
And in at Volkswagen. The problem for
Ogier was that, in 2012, the Polo R WRC
remained a work in progress, which
meant a year in a Skoda Fabia S2000 (a
class below the WRC machinery going for
overall wins) as the German factory
channeled its Dakar experience and
racecraft into a 2013-ready rally weapon.
Last year was almost too much for
Ogier. We’ve established his competitive
edge and confining that kind of driver to a
series of class wins while he watched
archrival Loeb waltz his way to a ninth title
nearly sent the 29-year-old over the edge.
“There were,” he says softly, “some
dark moments last year.”
He pauses for a moment, considering
the depth of those dark moments. Before
Here’s a statistic for you: In the
nine 2013 WRC events not
contested by Sebastien Loeb,
Seb Ogier’s win percentage was
78 percent ( 7 wins). In the four
Loeb entered, it was down to
50 percent, with the original Seb
winning the other two. How
fascinating would a season-long
duel between them have been?
THE LOEB EFFECT
You can only beat who’s put in front of you, but outside of four visits from Sebastien Loeb, the guys ranged against Sebastien Ogier were erratic to say the least.
In the end, a winless Thierry Neuville (Ford) was his closest challenger. Jari-Matti Latvala (VW) and Dani Sordo (Citroën) were the only non-Sebs to win an event.
SeBASTIeN AT A STROLL
1.MONTECARLO 6.GREECE 11.FRANCE 2.SwEdEN 7.ITALY 12.SPAIN 3.MExICO 8.FINLANd 13.GREATBRITAIN 4.PORTUGAL 9.GERMANY 5.ARGENTINA 10.AUSTRALIA
(ABOVE) After the
near-civil war at
Citroën in 2011, the
Sebs (Loeb on left)
got on fine in 2013 –
by not sharing the
same team. (ABOVE
RIGHT) Ogier flies
to his fourth win of
2013, Rally d’Italia.