These are fighting words from someone who’s made a name out of winning it three times. But Volkswagen’s Sebastian Ogier went all out when he ripped into the Championships running order rules after being forced to sweep a cleaner line for his Rally Argentina rivals last week.
Regulations dictate that each championship leader must spend two days on the road in order to lose time on dry gravel rallies. Ogier has long been a critic of these stipulations and his frustrations came to a head when he lost 24 seconds to Hayden Paddon on the Los Gigantes stage. This culminated in a very public altercation between the two rivals, who went toe-to-toe before being separated.
Apparently, Sebastian Ogier is not quite done fighting yet.
“I am so bored of talking about this. I just wanted to finish this rally and go home to think about something else
“Rallying is quite boring for me at the moment. We get good points [for second], but where is the sport?
“Yes, we can be champion again, but I know we deserve more than this. It’s completely unfair and not how the championship should be for me to run on the road 80% of the time.
“The problem is that it only comes from me and it’s the same story, but my point of view is always the same.
“For me, year after year, this championship is getting to be more and more of a joke.”
Clearly, the fiery Ogier is a man at the end of his rope, but we don’t feel it’s without reason. It does seem odd and unfair to place a champion at a disadvantage at the beginning of the race, especially since so many other motorsports allow their best to compete on a completely even playing field. It’s almost like punishing a man for winning your race and frankly, nothing seems more absurd.
While his complaints are unlikely to force a change in regulations anytime soon, WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen has confirmed that they haven’t fallen on wholly unsympathetic ears.
“I understand how he feels, I understand his frustration, but we have to see the bigger picture: we have to look after the whole championship.
“He doesn’t have the big picture and I understand that he has to be selfish – this is part of what makes him so successful.
“But nobody can say it has been bad for the sport.”
As we’re sure Ogier must be doing right now, we’re wondering what exactly he means by big picture.