Full WRC program for Sebastien Ogier in 2012
- 25th November 2011, 11:50am
Speaking with UK magazine, Autosport, Ogier said that there was even a possibility that he could drive VW’s new Polo World Rally Car on some rounds of next year’s WRC.
"Taking part in the 2012 WRC will enable me to stay match fit and familiarise myself with those events that I don't know so well," Ogier said.
"The test work will help me follow the Polo's development from A to Z. That's a very exciting challenge. I'm not ruling out the possibility of competing in the Polo towards the end of the year if the team believes we are sufficiently ready."
Ogier’s signing with Volkswagen came as a real shock, with most leading rally publications and journalists predicting that the Frenchman would sign for Ford for the 2012 season.
However, Ogier said that VW’s commitment to the WRC was the key reason for him signing with the German manufacturer.
"We looked at both opportunities," Ogier revealed. "However, Ford's future in the sport wasn't as certain as that of VW. When I added together all the pluses and minuses, Volkswagen emerged as the best choice."
So where does that leave Ford in 2012? The blue oval has still not committed to next year’s World Rally Championship, although with Latvala and young Estonian, Ott Tanak, contesting an event in France this weekend, it seems that their participation is almost assured.
But who will Ford sign as team-mate to Latvala? Tanak has shown plenty of promise, but if Ford are serious about challenging Citroen in 2012, they need a driver with more speed and experience.
The logical choice is Petter Solberg. The Norwegian has been out of a factory drive since Subaru pulled out of the WRC at the end of 2008, and could be just what Ford need to take the world title off their French rivals.
Solberg was a Ford driver in his early days in the WRC, before he was poached by Subaru, and with brother Henning having a long-term association with M-Sport, it could be Petter’s favoured choice.
Ford will also be keen to ensure that their former driver, Mikko Hirvonen, doesn’t have the chance to prosper alongside Sebastien Loeb at Citroen.
These are interesting times in the WRC.
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