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World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier is back at Citroen, the team which spring-boarded him into the position where he has already been World Champion six times. Ogier spoke to Martin Holmes at the WRC launch in the UK last weekend. How does the Citroen team now compare with how it was when you left it in 2010, what are the main differences in the way they work? "Well first of all it's a very long time ago, eight years! Eight years is a big time in life and in motorsport, so I think it's actually very hard to have a very precise comparison compared to that time.
"Also because my co-driver Julien (Ingrassia) and I are quite different people compared to eight years ago. We have much more experience in the sport and different status than at the time.
"I think at the time we were young kids trying to learn and now the team is counting on us to try to help them to go forward. There is some people who haven't changed, which are some good reference, but honestly it's a bit fresh to really point a difference of all the teams I'm working in. I haven't really realised a real difference yet." Different managers, different corporate management, they must have a lot of different views on rally sport compared with how they used to? "Obviously we will never be back with the same management in this team, that's clear. But you know time is changing, but on the other hand with the technical side of the team we have always had a very good relation since the beginning, and I think a lot of people were happy to see us back working with them.
"Of course one of the reasons we are driving now for Citroen again is that the management seems to be really motivated to do what they need to do to succeed again. Hopefully we will be able to do that."

Sebastien Ogier's 2019 WRC challenger. Can the Frenchman win a 7th straight title?

Of course Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville must again be your main contenders like last year, but what do you think about Sebastien Loeb's return? "I think I've said it already. I would have really loved to see his return as a full programme. "At the end of the day it's nice to have him back even only on some rallies. We always had some great battles together in the old days when it was always very close between us. Sometimes it was battle only between us. "Now it is a more open battle with more guys capable of challenging for the title." This year you are going to have 14 rallies, are you happy with the way the championship is expanding? "Not necessarily. I think for sure we shouldn't increase the number of rallies too much because economically it would become difficult for the teams. It already is. "Probably also even a way, in my point of view, to try to make the actual events better and even make them a bit more compact. I don't mean shorter. I still believe that you need to have a minimum of 300km of stage, that's important to keep the competition. "But I'm convinced that you could do this amount of kilometres over two days, that would be enough for me. Maybe then if you managed to reduce a little bit the lengths of the rally weeks that would reduce the cost. "Maybe that would offer the chance then to have maybe one more (event) in the championship." Oliver Ciesla said yesterday that by the time Kenya and Japan are in the championship he'll have to lose two of the classic rallies in Europe. How do you feel about the changing style of the rally championship? "For me I would not really agree with that. I will say that you need to keep the established rallies in the championship, because they have a lot of history and that's also often where you have a strong base of fans who follow the rally. "I'm happy to have some new things sometimes, but not to lose too many things!
"I believe there is a compromise somewhere, maybe linking rallies together by alternating events such as Australia and New Zealand."
 

More WRC news:

https://rallysportmag.com/weekend-rally-round-up-january-14/ https://rallysportmag.com/neuvilles-thoughts-about-loeb-and-new-team-director/
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