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    Ogier downplays expectations of combat with Loeb for WRC Portugal win

    Eight-time WRC champion Ogier revealed final week that Portugal would be the second occasion of his partial 2022 WRC marketing campaign with Toyota.

    Ogier has elected to cut back his WRC commitments this yr to permit a transfer into circuit racing courtesy of a LMP2 programme within the World Endurance Championship with Richard Mille Racing.

    His return to the WRC in Portugal may arrange one other potential battle with nine-time champion Loeb who, like Ogier, will probably be making his first look because the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally with M-Sport Ford.

    Ogier and Loeb created headlines in January when the pair had been concerned in a rally-long head-to-head, with Loeb popping out on high after Ogier picked up a puncture on the penultimate stage.

    However whereas the French pair have every received eight instances within the principality, Portugal will present an altogether completely different problem as the primary time the new-for-2022 Rally1 hybrid machines can have competed on gravel.

    Ogier has received in Portugal a record-equalling 5 instances, together with his maiden WRC win in 2010 for the Citroen junior crew, whereas Loeb has two wins to his title in 2007 and 2009.

    Whereas Ogier is happy to be dealing with Loeb once more on the 19-22 Could occasion, he isn’t anticipating the pair to steal the present like they did in Monte Carlo.

    “After all I am comfortable I at all times take pleasure in battling with [Loeb],” mentioned Ogier.

    “We had a few good fights throughout our profession and it’s good to see that the followers are enthusiastic about it.

    Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Sébastien Loeb, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

    Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, Sébastien Loeb, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce

    Picture by: M-Sport

    “I knew there was an excellent likelihood [Loeb] was coming to this occasion, so I used to be teasing him a bit on-line to attempt to get him to announce it.

    “I actually hope that we are going to each be capable to combat on the entrance, however I believe the set-up and the parameters for this race are completely different so I do not anticipate us to dominate like we did in Monte and battle forward.

    “I hope we will probably be concerned within the combat for the entrance and that will probably be a pleasant thrilling rally.

    “There’s additionally Dani [Sordo, also competing for Hyundai] so there are fairly a number of drivers from the older technology on the market.

    “In Monte everybody is aware of it’s the rally I really like essentially the most to win, and naturally there was disappointment to lose it that method.

    “I had finished the job and for one thing I could not management I misplaced it on the finish, in order that was irritating for positive.

    “However alternatively it was an amazing efficiency from him and he deserved to win, so that’s a part of the sport generally you want a little bit of luck in your aspect to win.

    “Early in my profession it might have been very onerous to simply accept this second, however I’ve grown up slightly bit on that aspect.”

    Sébastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

    Sébastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

    Picture by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool

    Ogier rejoined Toyota on Tuesday for the primary time since Monte Carlo to conduct a pre-event check in Portugal, his first run on gravel within the new GR Yaris.

    The Frenchman admitted he was excited to return to a WRC automotive following an outing within the WEC season opener at Sebring in March.

    “I am fairly excited to go within the check now,” he added.

    “Possibly in my final two seasons, generally going to assessments was getting a bit extra – not boring however extra – annoying, like generally I used to be not tremendous motivated to go regardless that I used to be at all times working onerous on lately as a result of I knew they had been extraordinarily necessary for the efficiency.

    “Now I can say I’m extra motivated to go forward as a result of it is [been] a very long time and lot of recent issues to study once more.”

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