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Ogier was "never really attracted much" by Dakar as he rules out future outing

Rally legend Sebastien Ogier is not interested in following in the footsteps of other WRC stars and moving to Dakar after retirement

#206 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR DKR Hilux: Lucas Moraes, Armand Monleon

#206 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR DKR Hilux: Lucas Moraes, Armand Monleon

Photo by: Toyota Racing

World Rally Championship star Sebastien Ogier has ruled out taking part in the Dakar Rally in the future, saying he has “never been really attracted” by the prospect of competing in the cross-country event.

Ogier stepped down from WRC as a full-timer at the end of the 2021 season but continues to compete in a number of rallies every year, driving the additional third/fourth car entered by Toyota.

The Frenchman has been able to show impressive speed even at the age of 40, and has finished either first or second in the four rallies he has competed so far in 2024.

Ogier’s future is a subject that has cropped up a number of times in the past, but he has always maintained that he is not interested in returning for a full season.

One possibility that has been suggested is an entry into Dakar, which has become a common destination for former WRC drivers after they retire from the series. Toyota also has a factory presence in the Saudi Arabia-based rally raid, making it a logical choice for Ogier.

However, the eight-time WRC champion has made it clear that he has no plans to enter Dakar in the coming years, saying he would prefer to switch to circuit racing instead.

“It hasn't been on my list yet," he said. "I think testing the car, I will always be for it. It's always a fun experience.
Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“But at the moment, I don't know, I've never been really attracted that much by this race. 

"It should have been actually the normal transition for rally drivers. Very often in the past, they went to cross country rally because it was easier to adapt and I would have more chance to perform there than I would be here in Le Mans. 

“But I liked more the challenge of going on track and pushing myself, learning something new. So I think in the future if it's not rallying, I will focus again more on track racing and endurance than Dakar.”

Since reducing his commitments in the WRC more than three years ago, Ogier has dabbled in sportscar racing, taking part in three rounds of the World Endurance Championship - including the Le Mans 24 Hours - in 2022 at the wheel of a Richard Mille-run ORECA 07 LMP2 car. 

Ogier even tested the Toyota GR010 HYBRID on two occasions and was being considered for a potential Hypercar debut at Le Mans in a third car, but an additional entry from the Japanese manufacturer never materialised.

Ogier made it clear that a return to sportscar racing is not on the cards at the moment as he continues to focus on a part-time rally programme but also admitted that a trip to Le Mans last weekend for the 24-hour enduro “gave me the wish to come back” in the future.

“I mean, never say never. There is not such a plan which is discussed at the moment,” he said. 

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“But yeah, it's true that I think rally drivers also like track racing and I think it's always interesting to learn something new and to have some experience on track. 

“Even if it's like really, you can talk about different disciplines. There is always some little thing you can learn on track that will help you to be an even better rally driver. 

“Kalle [Rovanpera] has also proved that he is an extremely fast rally driver. It will be interesting to follow now what he learned on track. 

"At the same time, I think it will be a bit difficult and challenging to put rally drivers together in a car during 24h of Le Mans. Maybe it will be better to mix us with some experienced track drivers personally the experience of three years ago.

“I decided to focus again a little bit more on rally as my partial programme in rally suits me very well at the moment. I prefer to stay there. But being there today, obviously watching that gave me the wish even more to come back at some point.”

Two-time and defending WRC champion Rovanpera, who has effectively succeeded Ogier in Toyota’s line-up, has also shown an inclination towards circuit racing after scaling back from his rallying commitments this year ahead of a full comeback in 2025.

The Finnish driver stated a desire to race at Le Mans 24 Hours after a strong run in a pair of Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux races at Zandvoort earlier this month.

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