2017 WRC title with M-Sport most emotional moment of career - Ogier
|By David Evans||Monday, October 30th 2017, 12:35 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier says winning the 2017 World Rally Championship with M-Sport was the most emotional moment of his career.
After four WRC titles in factory Volkswagens, Ogier secured a late deal with M-Sport's independent Ford programme for this season when VW pulled out.
He clinched his fifth championship on Rally GB, where Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport team also secured the manufacturers' title ahead of the works Hyundai, Toyota and Citroen operations and Elfyn Evans took his maiden WRC win in M-Sport's DMACK-shod third entry.
"I don't understand where this came from, but the emotion was really strong in this moment," Ogier told Autosport.
"It's hard to explain and I don't know why, but this was the strongest I have felt in this sport.
"Of course not in my life, the birth of my son was even more special, but I was so happy that I am able to take this kind of feeling from this sport still.
"I feel so proud and so happy for what we have achieved with Malcolm and with M-Sport.
"At the start of this year, we had to take this bet, we had to make this challenge with ourselves, but we did it and we succeeded.
"The guys at M-Sport worked so hard, they did so much with a smaller budget than the manufacturers.
"What we achieved this year is amazing."
M-Sport had not won a WRC title since it last took Ford to a manufacturers' championship in 2007.
That occasion was marred by Ford's Marcus Gronholm losing the drivers' title to Sebastien Loeb and being hospitalised after a crash.
"It's starting to sink in now and I'm starting to understand that it can't get any better than this. Really, it can't," said Wilson.
"This is the absolute high point for me. You look back to when we won the two titles before, particularly the second one on Rally Ireland and it was messy.
"Marcus crashed, we didn't win the rally, but we got the title and that was OK.
"This time, it was everything and it was so, so special.
"Ott crossed the line and that was the manufacturers', then Seb was next, that was the drivers' and then Elfyn came and won our home round of the world championship.
"It really couldn't get any better than that. Everything was perfect."
Wilson admitted there had been one moment of doubt on the final stage, as Ogier clinching the title depended on Evans - pictured above, who was the last of the top-class runners on the road - winning the rally.
"There was this reality check when somebody mentioned: 'what if Elfyn doesn't finish?'" said Wilson.
"Everything we'd celebrated, Seb, the championship, was based around Elfyn finishing the rally.
"And then suddenly my head was going back to thinking about Poland  and that last stage when Jari-Matti [Latvala] crashed and cost us the one-two.
"We were all banking on Elfyn winning. He didn't let us down."