Sunday, November 27, 2016

Where is Sebastien Ogier headed for the 2017 WRC season?

Before the 2016 World Rally Championship season ended on November 20 with the Rally Australia, Volkswagen Motorsport announced on November 2 that it was pulling out of the racing series, citing a realignment of the Volkswagen brand's motorsport program's focus "on new technologies and customer sport."


In the four years of Volkswagen's participation in the WRC, the team and driver Sebastien Ogier captured both the Constructors' and Drivers' titles, respectively, from the 2013 to the recently-concluded 2016 season. So with the German carmaker's departure from the series, Ogier is now a driver without a race seat--at least for now--and with the 2017 season scheduled to start on January 20 at Rallye Monte Carlo, that means Ogier has less than two months to find a new team.

Fortunately, with four Drivers' titles under his belt, Ogier has the freedom to choose which team he'll join for 2017 as he tries for his fifth straight championship and according to WRC.com, the Frenchman recently tested with two teams.

Following the Rally Australia, Ogier supposedly flew to Spain to test the Toyota Yaris WRC, with Toyota Gazoo Racing team boss--and four-time WRC champion--Tommi Makkinen confirming that Ogier drove Toyota's 2017-spec car on both gravel and asphalt.

Ogier then supposedly flew to the United Kingdom to test the M-Sport team's Ford Fiesta RS WRC at the Walters Arena rally complex in Wales.

Where Ogier will go is anyone's guess for now but we're predicting he'll sign with Toyota. While M-Sport's participation in the WRC for the past 11 seasons means it has its experience going for it, Toyota has both the pedigree--12 years, including three Constructors' titles--and Makkinen's experience. That the Toyota Gazoo Racing team is essentially a works outfit for Toyota means Ogier can expect the support of the world's largest car manufacturer.

So, while we wait for Ogier to announce with whom he'll be driving for next season, check out a video of him supposedly testing the Toyota Yaris WRC car below.




Photo from RedBullContent Pool.com

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