Sébastien Ogier has admitted that retirement was an option at the end of the 2016 season before he signed with M-Sport in the wake of Volkswagen Motorsport pulling out of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Speaking in the pre-Rallye Monte Carlo press conference the four time champion said, “Seriously, I thought about it. It’s getting harder to leave home and leave my little one. Sometimes I was close to go in this direction, but I thought if I do it I will never come back – I didn’t want a sabbatical. Then I say OK, I still have lot of pleasure and I still want to try a little more.
“Obviously the timing of the Volkswagen decision put us in a very difficult situation with not so many options. I chose the one which gives me the best chance to continue to perform. We’ll see. It’s a new era and there is a question mark for everybody with the new cars.
“We need to be fast but also reliable and clever. In the past we have proved we can have some strong argument, let’s see what we can do – but it’s sure I would like more preparation.”
Talking about the season ahead with the M-Sport squad, the reigning champion finds himself in an unknown position, “I am aware I have a big challenge and with short preparation it won’t be easy. I have nothing to lose; the motivation is to make something from this challenge.
“It’s strange to make a step back as more of an outsider for this season, but at least with Julien we have lot of experience and we have some hope. We will do our best.
“We start the season with very little time in the car and the team and it’s definitely difficult. And we know this is the only private team in the championship and it’s always hard to fight against the manufacturers.
“But at least this is an exceptional private team which has proved for many many years that they can do really, really well. Even if the last years were not so good, I trust them.
“I went into this challenge feeling something could come out, otherwise I would stay home with my little Tim.” he added.