Ogier: 2017-spec car a step in the right direction

WRC champion Sebastien Ogier reckons the new-generation car, set to be introduced in 2017, will be an improvement from the drivers' point of view.

The Frenchman, who heads the championship after winning the first two rallies of the season, said the new machinery will allow for more aggressive driving and provide an increase in performance.

"From a driver’s perspective, they are [an improvement]," Ogier told Motorsport.com.

"Not many drivers will complain about rules allowing a little more performance. I think we’re all happy with a little more aero giving a bit more performance but also a more aggressive look to the cars – lighter cars, too."

One element of the car Ogier would have done differently is the engine, which will be equipped with more power compared to the machinery currently used.

"We’re given more power at high revs but not more torque, which would have given us more traction at the exit of the corners and improved the show, instead of having power at high revs.

"However, the cars are going to sound even more aggressive, the engine’s noise will be a bit nicer at high revs."

2017 car in testing phase

Volkswagen's new Polo R is currently in development, with an intermediate version with the chassis being used for testing purposes.

"[I've driven the car] only once, in Sweden, but the conditions were tricky with lots of fresh snow. I couldn’t really get a feel for the difference in performance.

"It’s just a test car we use to collect data for the team about the engine. Honestly, I don’t quite know what the technical team is working on, but this Polo is very far from being the definitive version.

"But for sure, there will be a real gain in performance compared to the current cars, especially in fast rallies like Finland or Sweden."

Ogier hoping to maintain VW dominance

Although the field currently contains only two factory-supported teams in Volkswagen and Hyundai, the return of Citroen and Toyota promises stronger competition for 2017.

"I’m not hoping it reshuffles the cards," Ogier admitted. "I’m quite happy with the current situation! I don’t feel like it should fundamentally change a lot.

"It’s hard to say but the team started working very early, earlier than any other, so hopefully we’ll tackle this change well."

Interview by Jean-Philippe Vennin
Translated by Benjamin Vinel

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Ogier
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport
Article type Interview