He’s staying. Did you really think he’d leave? Some did. I did. Then I didn’t.
Thirty-three’s no age to retire – Marcus Gronholm was one year younger than that when he got his first full season in the World Rally Championship.
If he wanted, Ogier could spend the next decade at the forefront of world rallying. For the record, I don’t think he will. But success in our sport is built on experience and the five-time champ’s certainly not short of that.
What made me think he might go? Well, it’s the same thing that convinced me he would stay. His competitiveness.
Twelve months ago, Volkswagen’s departure was a nightmare. Initially. Ultimately, however, it was an opportunity. In his words, it offered him a challenge. That challenge was to show the world it was Sebastien Ogier who was the champion. Yes, Volkswagen provided the vehicle for his brilliance, but the talent came from his hands. His feet.
And with that challenge faced down and a title won, I thought he might be ready to call it a day and stay home with his wife and son.
But now there’s another challenge: to do it again? Can he do it in the face of increasing competition? Hyundai and Neuville won’t make the same mistakes next year; Citroen and Meeke will be even stronger and then there’s Toyota’s three forest racers who, on their day, will be as quick as anybody between the trees.
Like those around him, Ogier lives for competition and, while the thought dodging a 0400 alarm call on a Deeside Saturday might be nice for now, there’s plenty of time for that later.
In the meantime, there’s another world championship to win.
Our world remains Ogier’s world in more ways than one, and he wants it to remain so until he decides. Nobody else.
Good on him.
Welcome back champ. Not that you were ever going anywhere…