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Dusseldorf Delight

The now regular season ending event in early December is the Race of Champions. A rather cold Düsseldorf ESPRIT Arena welcomed the worlds best to their stadium for a very intense event.

Much to the delight of the fans the weekend was kicked off by a glorious fifth title to Team Germany in the Nations Cup headed by Sebastian Vettel with his somewhat “inexperienced” team mate in the form of Michael Schumacher. The pairing did not disappoint the lively German audience and thrilled the millions of TV viewing public from all corners of the globe.

Arguably the biggest story is the real and very true emergence of Sebastian Ogier. A driver that I have become very fond of over the past three to four years and believe has a massive career ahead of him. My earliest memory of the young Frenchman was seeing him blast around the mountains of Monte-Carlo in 2009. At the time driving a Peugeot 207 and thrilling the fans at every pull of the hand break. A quite superb event saw him beat Freddy Loix and the veteran Stephane Sarrazin.

From that point Ogier has gone from strength to strength. He signed for Citroen WRC after stepping up from the Citroen Junior team in 2010 to become team mate to the illustrious Sebastian Loeb. ‘Team Seb’ looked like they would be quite the team to beat over the next few years and Ogier wanted to show that Loeb was beatable. Even though it would be Loeb that would still take the title Ogier gave a fantastic account of himself winning his first event at the Japanese Rally in 2010. He went on to take the Portuguese, Jordan, Acropolis, German and his home event in France racking up 196 points to Loeb’s 222. It is evident to see this was a closely fought fight along with Ford Fiesta driver Mikko Hirvonen in the middle of a ‘Seb sandwich’.

December 2011 at it is time for the race of Champions. Ogier showing very strong in the Nations Cup, but Team France were not to progress through to the final after being knocked out by Team Nordic. It would be the Race of Champions itself where the 27 year old Frenchman would show his ‘Tricolore’ colours. He qualified top of his group ‘B’ and moved on to face Andy Priaulx, a dab hand at the Race of Champions and three times World Touring Car Champion (WTCC). He saw the Manxman off and moved through to the semi-final to meet 2011 DTM Champion Martin Tomczyk. This arguably being Ogier’s toughest challenge yet he took on the former Audi man in an Audi R8 LMS and convincingly beat the German. The final waited where he would be joined by the ‘Great Dane’, the eight time Le Mans winner, Tom Kristensen. TK a phenomenal multiclass driver with years of pedigree to his name was eager to win this competition. The determined eyes of TK saw off Schumacher to make it to this stage and we were not to be disappointed.

Ogier won the best of three races in two races. Winning the first race in the RoC buggy and then would win the Race of Champions in the Audi R8 LMS, a car that he has taken a shine to very much over the event. A new challenge in the future for him?


With Ogier the 2011 Race of Champions, Champion where will this lead the Frenchman now? Well the VAG group have signed him up to help build and develop the brand new VW Polo that will be entering the 2013 World Rally Championship. Pondering what this would mean for 2012 it was recently announced that Ogier would take the wheel of a Skoda Fabia S2000 for the 2012 WRC season. While this may not be ideal or a championship contending car it is certainly a drive that he crucially needs. That said, it is also a further year of experience that will go a long way to what could a very illustrious career.

Being part of the VAG group will do him no harm either. He will go to their winter camp and will meet none other than Tom Kristensen, along with many other Audi drivers as they all prepare for the new World Endurance Championship.

With a potentially glittering career on the horizon, this is a big step for Ogier and I for one will be following his career closely and look forward to many great things from him.

Follow me on Twitter @Nico888

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