Ogier: Rally Mexico should not have taken place

Rally Mexico winner Sebastien Ogier says that the event should not have taken place at all in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Ogier: Rally Mexico should not have taken place

Ogier secured his first victory since joining Toyota on Saturday, the Leon-based event having been cut short by three stages as Sunday's running was axed to help teams beat travel restrictions being imposed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The six-time World Rally champion expressed his reservations on Thursday ahead of the start of the rally about proceeding as most other major motorsport series - including Formula 1, IndyCar and NASCAR - abandoned races planned for the same weekend.

After taking the win by some 27 seconds over Ott Tanak, recording his sixth triumph in Mexico, Ogier was even more outspoken about the situation.

"Our love story with Mexico continues, twelve years after making our debut here, but considering the context, this win is very different from all the others," said the Frenchman.

"For me, this rally should not have taken place. Nothing is more important than human lives and my fear during the weekend was that we could be putting our Mexican friends in danger.

"I'm sorry that we were not able to spend some time with the fans, who are always so warm-hearted here, but it was a necessary precaution for everyone's well-being."

He added: "I'm very happy to have achieved this first victory with Toyota and I would clearly have preferred it to have been in other circumstances and to have celebrated it all together.

"It's now time for all of us to look after ourselves and our families and I hope that we will emerge quickly from this worldwide crisis."

Ciesla defends decision-making process

WRC Promoter managing director Oliver Ciesla admitted that circumstances had changed "rapidly" between the decision being made made to press on with the event on Thursday and the call to abandon the last three stages.

"When we met with FIA, the organisation of Rally Mexico and the teams, no-one was in favour of racing on Sunday," said Ciesla. "It was a difficult decision, but the right one.

"Mexico is always a very well-organised rally and one where we feel welcome, but we had to make this decision, especially because of the conditions that have changed since Thursday when to travel has become very difficult, and circumstances continue to change rapidly.

"We have a lot of international members here and we had to make sure they get home safely."

With Rally Argentina having been postponed, the next WRC event is scheduled to take place in Portugal on May 21-24. But Ciesla admitted that this event could also be in doubt given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus situation.

"In the WRC we will stop for at least nine weeks; we have suspended Rally Argentina and we should resume with Rally Portugal, which we hope will happen," he said.

"But as of today no one can give us any real information about when the health situation in Europe, and around the world, will return to normal. At the moment I don't have an answer as to what will happen to the WRC calendar."

shares
comments
Mexico WRC: Ogier seals victory on shortened rally

Previous article

Mexico WRC: Ogier seals victory on shortened rally

Next article

Neuville "can't see the point" of 2022 WRC proposals

Neuville "can't see the point" of 2022 WRC proposals
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Mexico
Drivers Sébastien Ogier
Teams Toyota Gazoo Racing
Author Jamie Klein
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021
The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season Prime

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The 2020 World Rally Championship bestrode all 12 months of the Gregorian calendar, and in terms of the competition it was a cracker. Moreover, it was an inspiration in dark days for the world and our industry.

WRC
Jan 1, 2021
The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb Prime

The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb

A series of close calls in his formative years threatened to leave rallying's top echelon tantalisingly out of reach for the man who would go on to claim nine WRC titles. In an exclusive interview, Sebastien Loeb recalls the key steps on his road to dominance.

WRC
Dec 11, 2020