Sébastien Ogier will complete a career grand slam of WRC event victories if he wins this week’s YPF Rally Argentina (21 – 24 April). Photographer Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
Volkswagen was last defeated in Argentina 12 months ago
The rough road south American rally is the only one on the calendar* that Ogier has yet to win during a career which has netted 34 triumphs.
Success in Argentina has eluded the triple world champion, who scored his maiden win in Portugal in 2010, in six previous attempts. He finished runner-up to Sébastien Loeb in 2013 and Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala the following year.
“Argentina is the only rally on the calendar I have not yet won,” said 32-year-old Ogier. “This year will not be easy either because we will once again be the first car onto the route. Whatever happens, I will do my best to improve my record here and to win for the first time.
“I’m very optimistic about Argentina. However, the weather can be tricky. Thick fog often restricts visibility, which is not very pleasant for a rally driver. As far as the surface is concerned, we must adapt from Mexico, as the gravel is much softer and the ground far sandier. It requires a different driving style.”
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) performs during the FIA World Rally Championship Mexico 2016 in Leon, Mexico on March 4, 2016 (Photographer Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool)
His Volkswagen Motorsport team is also on the cusp of history. Victory for Ogier or team-mates Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen would be a 13th consecutive win for the German manufacturer, making it the first to go an entire year unbeaten.
Volkswagen was last defeated in Argentina 12 months ago and Latvala’s victory in Mexico last month matched its 12 rally winning run spanning 2013 and 2014.
“Once around the world without a single defeat is something no manufacturer has ever achieved,” said motorsport director Jost Capito. “But we know that the last time we were not successful was in Argentina, so we need to raise our game.”
YPF Rally Argentina is based in Villa Carlos Paz, 700km north-west of Buenos Aires. It starts on Thursday evening and competitors faces 18 special stages covering 364.68km before Sunday afternoon’s finish.
* Rally China (8 – 11 September) returns to the WRC for the first time since 1999.