DakarFIA World Rally Championship

Sebastien Ogier “never been really attracted that much” by Dakar Rally

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Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Sébastien Ogier is one of the greatest drivers in World Rally Championship history as an eight-time champion who continues to win races today even on a part-time schedule. Unfortunately, fans who want to see him trade in his Toyota Yaris for a Toyota Hilux will be disappointed to learn he doesn’t echo their sentiment.

Speaking with Autosport, Ogier admitted that even if he decides to step away from rally for good, the Dakar Rally is not something he is particularly excited about.

“It hasn’t been on my list yet,” Ogier explained. “I think testing the car, I will always be for it, it’s always a fun experience. But at the moment, I don’t know. I’ve never been really attracted that much by this race.”

Rally raid is a popular avenue for rally drivers who wish to try something else that still shares some overlap in skillset. Ari Vatanen won the 1981 World Rally Championship before going on to win four Dakar Rallies, while Kenjiro Shinozuka was the first Asian driver to win a WRC round and claimed the 2000 Dakar. Nine-time WRC champ Sébastien Loeb and twice titlist Carlos Sainz are among the top drivers in the World Rally-Raid Championship today, the latter winning the Dakar four times including the latest in January, while reigning W2RC victor Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to dabble in rally today to great success. Mikko Hirvonen and Spanish Rally Champion Sergio Vallejo boast Dakar experience too, and although he has yet to make it happen, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg has been open to tackling the race someday.

Instead of cross-country rally, Ogier is more attracted to pavement racing with a focus on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He entered the 2022 edition in an Oreca LMP2 and finished ninth in class, capping off a three-race stint in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The Frenchman has also made one-off appearances in the Porsche Supercup and DTM.

“Very often in the past, [rally drivers] went to cross country rally because it was easier to adapt and I would have more chance to perform there than I would be here in Le Mans, but I liked more the challenge of going on track and pushing myself, learning something new,” he continued. “I think in the future if it’s not rallying, I will focus again more on track racing and endurance than Dakar.”

While 2022 was his only Le Mans to date, his current commitment to Toyota Gazoo Racing in WRC does leave the door open if the manufacturer wishes to field a Toyota GR010 Hybrid for him; TGR finished runner-up in the 2024 edition last weekend. Toyota is also the defending W2RC champion with their Toyota GR DKR Hilux, though Ogier’s apathy towards the discipline means Seth Quintero and Lucas Moraes will not have him by their side in the near future.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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