The reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier will be returning behind the wheel of the Toyota GR Yaris1 this weekend at the Rallye de Portugal but he is doubting his performance level after the pre-event testing.
The eight-time champion is running a part-time program this season and he hasn’t sat in the Yaris since his second place finish at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in January but Ogier stated the car has evolved since that.
For the 2022 season, Ogier is sharing the third car with Esapekka Lappi in the Japanese manufacturer’s team as Ogier is also doing a LMP2 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year.
The Frenchman also shares the most wins in Portugal together with the Finn Markku Alén, both of them have five wins to date but Ogier is keen to make it a sixth next weekend.
Ogier has spoken to WRC.com after his test with Toyota Gazoo Racing as he tested the car on gravel in Portugal last week ahead of round four of the 2022 campaign.
“It’s a challenge [to come back to the car] after three months. It’s not huge, but I have to try to find the right feeling. It’s more exciting when you come back – I took some holidays with my family and I’m feeling quite fresh right now.” Ogier told WRC.com.
“For sure, the car has changed quite a bit since last time, but it’s also the first time on gravel for me, so it’s very new – and the car behaves pretty differently to the previous generation [of World Rally Cars].
“It’s kind of learning again for me to find out what I can do and where are the limits. It’s hard to estimate which level we’re at, but we’ll know soon enough when the race starts.”
“I’m looking forward to see how it goes, hopefully we can deliver a good show. I love to drive on gravel and these are some of the most beautiful gravel roads in the championship.”