2023 Rallye Monte-Carlo: Sébastien Ogier – “Rallye Monte-Carlo is probably the one I want to win the most”

The eight-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier will be hunting for his record-breaking ninth Rallye Monte-Carlo win next weekend as he will be joining the grid for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT.

Ogier is doing his second consecutive part-time this season as he will be sharing the third Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 with Takamoto Katsuta. It is still not clear if Ogier will continue to drive in endurance racing but the Richard Mille Racing entrant in LMP2 was not seen on the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship entry list as it got published, or if he will take some time off to enjoy his family life.

He is the 2nd most successful WRC driver in history, after his fellow countryman Sébastien Loeb who has clinched a total of nine world titles in the series but Ogier is also one of the two drivers that have won titles with three different manufacturers, the other one being the Finn Juha Kankkunen. Ogier’s rally career began in 2005 when he won the Rallye Jeunes on debut and was rewarded with a place in the Peugeot 206 Cup for the following season, he then teamed up with his long-term co-driver Julien Ingrassia, who became synonymous with Ogier.

In 2008 Ogier started to drive in the WRC, when he entered the FIA Junior World Rally Championship in a Citroen C2 S1600 and made his debut in Rally Mexico where he also won his class and became the first JWRC to score WRC points as he ended up eight overall, and the same year he clinched the JWRC title, which became the first of many to come. He was also awarded a first drive in a Citroen C4 WRC in Wales Rally GB.

The following year Ogier made a one-off appearance in the now defunct Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Rallye Monte-Carlo, where he surprisingly won in a Peugeot 207 S2000 fielded by Kronos and also joined his first full-season in WRC driving for Citroen Junior Team and took his maiden podium finish in Acropolis Rally Greece same year. In 2010 he joined the main factory team Citroen Total WRT for two outings beside driving in the junior outfit, he took his first WRC to win in Rally Japan driving in a works car.

Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

He left Citroen after 2011 to join the newly formed Volkswagen Motorsport for the 2012 season, where he began his domination in WRC. He took four consecutive world titles in a Volkswagen Polo WRC between 2012 and 2016. He joined M-Sport Ford WRT for the 2017 season when the new regulations came and VW scrapped their WRC program, where he also won two more titles making it six in a row. After the 2018 season, he was back again at Citroen but then he finished third overall.

After Ogier announced he will be moving to Toyota for the 2020 season, Citroen also made it clear they will be stepping out from the WRC as they blamed on they could not find a driver to replace Ogier with same caliber. During the two COVID-19 struct seasons in 2020 and 2021 Ogier took another two world titles and after the 2021 season he started to focus on part-time driving in the WRC, where he is standing at the moment.

Ogier has won a total of eight Monte-Carlo rallies, between 2014 and 2019 he won six in a row and another one in 2017, and now he is looking to secure his ninth victory at the world famous rally next weekend.

“I’m still very excited at the start of the season, even though I’m no longer taking part in the full year. It’s always a pleasure to sit behind the steering wheel of a top WRC car. Last year I really enjoyed doing these few rallies. It was good to see I could still be competitive and the target is to try and stay on a similar level this year and fight for some more wins. I know that the team is never relaxing; even though the last seasons have been very successful, they are still working very hard.” Ogier said.

“Rallye Monte-Carlo is probably the one I want to win the most and I will do my best once more. Preparation has been more difficult as everybody is limited to one day of testing, which is difficult for such a complex event with different conditions and tyre options. But it’s the same for everybody, and I will try to make the most of my experience.”