Determined to return as a challenger for the podium next year, five-time world rally champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are to rejoin the team in 2019, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT made the announcement in a statement rleased on Friday.
Ten years ago, at the 2008 Wales Rally GB, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia, then the newly-crowned Junior World Rally Champions, made a stunning debut in the C4 WRC as they won the opening test – claiming their first WRC stage win in the process – and led the rally until SS5.
With the 2018 edition of the British round next up on the calendar, the timing could not be better to announce the return of the five-time world champions (2013 to 2017) to Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT, the team where it all began. In fact, it was in Citroën overalls that the two Frenchmen claimed their first world title in the Junior class, in the C2 Super 1600, and their first WRC stage win. They also scored their first WRC podium with Citroën (runners-up at the 2009 Acropolis Rally in the C4 WRC) and their maiden overall win (2010 Rallye de Portugal in the C4 WRC).
After demonstrating their exceptional talent in the brand’s Junior Team, they quickly confirmed their promise in the Citroën’s works team (2010 Rally Finland), making an active contribution to the manufacturers’ titles won in 2010 and 2011.
Securing the world champion pairing for 2019 onwards, in a crew that is challenging for a sixth consecutive world title this year; the team – led by Pierre Budar – remains determined to aim even higher with a C3 WRC that has already claimed two overall wins and six podium finishes.
Set on the challenge of becoming world champion with a third different marque, which also boasts a great history in world rallying, Sébastien is convinced by the potential of the car and the determination of a team that he knows well. Driven by their mutual desire to work together again, they are looking forward to adding to a joint record that already features seven overall wins.
Just before the start of the 2018 Paris Motor Show (4-14 October), where the C3 WRC will be on display, the reunion of the French crew and team is great news for fans, who are undoubtedly already looking forward to the start of next season at the 2019 Rallye Monte-Carlo (22-27 January).
Commenting, Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal expressed delight over the development.
He said: “I’m obviously delighted to welcome Sébastien and Julien back into the fold. The fact they are joining us is an incredible boost for the whole team. Everyone is going to be even more motivated than ever. We’re already pulling out all the stops to make sure our second stint working together adds to our great history in the sport and showcases the Citroën brand. We’re really excited.”
Ogier in an interview revealed what necessitated his new move.
He explained: “I’m really enthusiastic about the prospect of taking on this new challenge with Citroën as I haven’t forgotten that this is the team that first gave me the opportunity to compete in the world championship.
“There were various factors that influenced my decision. I really like the idea of once again working alongside people with whom things went pretty well a few years back, and I’m also excited by the chance to try and pull off the challenge of becoming world champion with a third different manufacturer. Although I’m not taking anything for granted, I am convinced that the car has definite potential and I have great faith in the people at Satory.”
SÉBASTIEN OGIER AND CITROËN RACING IN FIGURES
- 4 seasons contested (2008 in C2 Super 1600, 2009 and 2010 in C4 WRC, and 2011 in DS3 WRC)
- 2 World Manufacturers’ Championship titles (2010 and 2011)
- 1 Junior World Rally Championship title (2008)
- 7 joint overall wins: Portugal and Japan in 2010 in the C4 WRC; Portugal, Jordan, Acropolis (Greece), Germany and France-Alsace in 2011 in the DS3 WRC
- 14 joint podium finishes: 7 overall wins, 3 second places (Acropolis in 2009, New Zealand and Finland in 2010) 4 third places (Mexico and Germany in 2010, Argentina and Finland in 2011)