Et voilà: after eight titles and 54 wins for Sébastien Ogier (he added one to his earlier tally of every on Rally Monza), that is the place all of it involves an finish. Perhaps. Formally, he’s all the way down to do a partial programme of occasions subsequent 12 months with Toyota, sharing a GR Yaris hybrid with Esapekka Lappi (the precise programme is but to be outlined).
Rally Monza confirmed, although, that Ogier has misplaced none of his pace, motivation or class. It could come as no shock if the Frenchman triumphed on the Rallye Monte-Carlo subsequent 12 months: he has gained it eight instances earlier than, in any case, which is greater than anybody else.
And at that time, who might blame him if he needed to hold on, maybe to equal and even beat his compatriot Sébastien Loeb’s report of 9 WRC titles? Ogier continues to be solely 37, in any case.
However there’s one one that has an enormous affect on his selections, and that’s German TV presenter Andrea Kaiser – often known as his spouse and the mom of younger Tim Ogier. She has made her perspective clear: she would slightly he stopped utterly, making a clear break.
Maybe she has a degree. Nice champions function at such a excessive stage that it’s virtually not possible to breed that stellar kind on a part-time foundation. Even the very, absolute best drivers (and Ogier is a member of that membership), similar to Loeb and Michael Schumacher, couldn’t fairly return to their peak performances as soon as that they had nominally retired.
And Ogier himself has truly been speaking about retirement for a very long time: he would have stopped on the finish of final 12 months, had it not been for the pandemic truncating the season. So it has solely come to the tip proper now – type of.
Not so for Julien Ingrassia. Ogier’s co-driver introduced final month that he can be ending his profession for good after Rally Monza, which implies that Ogier can be accompanied by Benjamin Veillas subsequent 12 months.
And never simply that: Ogier has already examined Toyota’s new Le Mans Hypercar in Bahrain, and all indications are that he wish to do some racing, too.
You may by no means blame anybody for following their passions, however there’s going to be lot of issues that can be very totally different subsequent 12 months. And whereas it is going to be nice to see Ogier on the phases once more, wouldn’t it have been neater to do one thing that no person has ever achieved earlier than: retire from the WRC having gained his final title and rally, indubitably and eternally on the very prime of his sport?
The way it works: waved double-yellow flags
No different flag is extra vital in motorsport than the yellow one, as a result of it warns of hazard. And two of them being waved at you is basically severe, typically which means there are marshals on the observe – which is why Max Verstappen misplaced 5 grid slots by not slowing down for Pierre Gasly’s stricken AlphaTauri in qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix.