WRC

Sebastien Ogier excited to work with childhood hero Tommi Makinen

Sebastien Ogier says he's excited to be working with his childhood hero, Toyota team boss Tommi Makinen, following his surprise switch to the Japanese manufacturer for the 2020 World Rally Championship season.

Ogier's run of six-consecutive championship victories came to an end in 2019 following his move from M-Sport to Citroen, prompting him to move to Toyota after just one season with the French company, which delivered three event wins in Monte Carlo, Mexico and Turkey.

The move sees him come under Toyota team boss Makinen, a four-time WRC champion, and someone Ogier has a great respect for as one of his first memories of rallying.

"I’m looking forward to working with the team, but, yes, Tommi was my childhood hero from the end of the 90s," said Ogier. "That’s my first real memory from rallying and [the] Monte-Carlo [Rally].

"I mean… this red car dominating this event with Tommi at the wheel and to work with him today is exciting!

"Also working with such an iconic brand like Toyota is also something special – they have a lot of history in rallying and I really have a lot of respect for the Japanese mentality and the way they are. They are very respectful regarding people and I’m interested to learn more about the Japanese culture."

Ogier will be joined by former team-mate Elfyn Evans, who joins from M-Sport, and the Frenchman is happy to once again work with the Welshman.

"Honestly, it’s good and I was happy to hear the team decided to take him [Evans], it’s deserved for him after many years in the sport.

"It’s nice to have him, but we both have a lot to learn now. The first discussions we have with the team were good and the engineers are also interested to have our first feedback on the car.

"When you work with the same drivers for a while it can be difficult to find some new direction or some new ways. From the first feedback [I get from the engineers] it looks like everybody is pretty happy with the car – but they struggle to find a new way to improve, so maybe having some new drivers is going to help the team go even further forward."