Sebastien Ogier Opts out of Retirement, Will Race With M-Sport WRC in 2018
The five-time champ will return to rallying despite many doubting his comeback next season.
French World Rally Championship driver Sebastien Ogier claimed his fifth consecutive Drivers' Title in 2017 with the Cumbria-based M-Sport squad. After a successful run for the team at Rally Wales, there were rumors that Ogier could soon be making his exit from competitive racing, ending his career on one final high note. With fans and the organization admittedly afflicted, Ogier left his future up in the air after helping the Ford-backed team take home its first Constructors' Championship in ten years. However, M-Sport recently announced that Ogier re-signed with the British crew along with star teammate Elfyn Evans, locking in its driver lineup for next season.
Ogier admitted that he had his heart set on an M-Sport return, though he couldn't make it official until the team announced it Tuesday evening. His career record has been an impressive one as he accompanies Sebastien Loeb as the only multi-year WRC champion since the turn of the millennium, four of them coming with Volkswagen from 2013-2016.
Loeb and Evans will once again race together under the reign of chief Malcolm Wilson. The long-time M-Sport boss was undoubtedly excited to have secured his two stars for 2018, both of which took home rally wins this past season. Collectively, the trio awarded the U.K. outfit with its most successful season since entering the WRC having beaten comparatively high-budget manufacturer teams like Citroën and Hyundai.
“It’s a real weight off our mind to get Seb and Elfyn all sorted,” Wilson said. “We can now focus all of our attention to the car and the evolutions we’ve got planned for next season.
“This news is definitely worth waiting for. I’m over the moon that we’ve got Seb and Julien [Ingrassia, co-driver] with us again next year. The negotiations have taken a while, maybe even longer than last season, but we’ve put everything in order.
"I’ll be honest, negotiating with Sebastien’s a very straightforward process: he told us what he wanted and we had to find a way to get there.”
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M-Sport also claimed the Constructors’ Title while Ogier’s teammate Elfyn Evans took home the overall win.