Sebastien Ogier may not be as cemented to the Citroen as everyone first thought – after entering talks with the Ford World Rally Team – meaning he is the key to the driver market this season, having the pick of the two best teams in the WRC for next year.
“We have spoken to Sebastien Ogier,” said Gerard Quinn, Ford Motorsport manager. “We are always looking for ways to strengthen our competitiveness and an opportunity came our way. His management wanted to talk to us and we took the move to do that.”
However he denied either of the current two drivers would make way for Ogier’s possible arrival at the the squad.
“We would have to look at how to arrange the team,” he said. “It’s important for us to look at our team position, we have two very good drivers in Mikko [Hirvonen] and Jari-Matti [Latvala] and having somebody like Ogier would be good. It would be unfair of me to say anything other than that.”
Ogier was coy with the press regarding the talks, and kept details to an absolute minimum.
“I have nothing to say for the moment,” he said. “Yes, I have the proposition from them and I look at this proposition and the Citroen proposition and I can give you more information soon.”
Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel reacted strongly to the news – insisting the young Frenchman would be going nowhere next year.
“I think Sebastien Ogier likes the colour red, he prefers red to blue – I’m not so anxious,” he said. “If Ford wants to speak to Ogier they can, I can’t do anything. I don’t mind, it means Ogier is good. We will see what he decides.”
Ogier will make a decision on his future before Rally Finland – the question is, will Ford’s equal treatment policy lure him away from what is very much Sebastien Loeb‘s Citroen, or will the chance to inherit the reigning champion’s ‘throne’ and continue one of France’s greatest sporting legacies be too good to pass up?