After new champion Ott Tanak’s surprise transfer to Hyundai, the largest query surrounding the 2020 Global Rally Championship season is whether or not Toyota will transfer for Sebastien Ogier.
Ogier examined the Yaris WRC in 2016 after Volkswagen’s withdrawal from the WRC however signed for M-Game, the place he added two extra titles in a Ford Fiesta WRC.
The six-time champion joined Citroen on a two-year deal on the finish of ultimate season and he has twelve months final on that settlement – and then he has already showed he’s going to retire from the game.
When requested about his long run after Rally Spain – the place his WRC identify hopes ended – Ogier mentioned: “That is perhaps no longer the time to take into accounts the ones questions, when the feelings are top from this rally.”
Citroen staff primary Pierre Budar added: “Now we have a freelance for subsequent 12 months with him.”
Rumours stay about an Ogier transfer and historical past has proven it’s imaginable to extricate drivers from it sounds as if binding contracts.
Ogier’s personal possibilities of a 7th identify have been scuppered in Spain when his Citroen suffered a hydraulic failure which pressured him from the lead on Friday morning.
Family members between Ogier and Citroen had been strained now and then this season – particularly when he greeted a seventh-placed end in Germany via being candid sufficient to mention he “can’t power this automobile”.
Following Rally Spain, the connection might be examined additional via a social media publish from Ogier’s spouse Andrea Kaiser, one among Germany’s preeminent sports activities newshounds, the place she criticised the marque and the efficiency of its automobile relative to Ogier’s ability.
Requested for his emotions at the scenario, Toyota staff primary Tommi Makinen mentioned: “I do not know what it opens. It will open many, many discussions.
“It is usually no longer so excellent, like I informed you sooner than, to doubtlessly have two [top] drivers in a single staff – we want one each and every in the entire groups to verify the combat is honest and excellent for the championship.”
Requested if a few of his long run discussions could be with Ogier, Makinen responded: “I’ve observed repeatedly all the way through this season, a no longer so satisfied face from him.
“Many rallies we’ve observed issues which have been no longer so completely right kind and I discussed to anyone that I’ve been frightened that he’s going to retire, perhaps even on the finish of this 12 months.
“Issues had been unhealthy [for him], however you by no means know what can occur.”
Tanak’s transfer may just paintings in favour of his Toyota team-mates Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala.
However, whilst Meeke and Latvala deliver enjoy and velocity, there would stay a query mark over the Jap producer’s skill to maintain a identify risk – particularly with Kalle Rovanpera already signed to power the squad’s 3rd Yaris WRC.
There’s communicate of Toyota following Hyundai’s lead and operating drivers in part-programmes to be able to exploit operating order laws.
Makinen isn’t partial to one of these coverage, however with the likes of Hayden Paddon, Craig Breen and Andreas Mikkelsen to be had subsequent season, it will turn out a viable choice for Toyota.