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
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021