Rally

Citroen begins talks with WRC champion Ogier over return for 2019 – WRC


Citroen has opened talks with five-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier as it attempts to sign the Frenchman for 2019.

The manufacturer wants to bring Ogier back into its fold seven years after it let him go following an acrimonious season alongside Sebastien Loeb.

Ogier’s current agreement with the M-Sport Ford team comes to an end at the end of this year, which means he is likely to receive offers from all four WRC squads.

After axing Kris Meeke in May, Citroen has committed Mads Ostberg to its second car for the majority of the remainder of the season alongside Craig Breen.

Team principal Pierre Budar told Autosport: “I am thinking about the driver line-up for next year a lot right now.

“We have many options and we’re talking with several drivers – there could be changes for next year.”

Asked directly about the potential for an Ogier return, he added: “I talk with Sebastien Ogier like I talk with other drivers. Of course we would be very happy to have such a driver in our team.”

Ogier’s preferred option is understood to be remaining where he is. He has spoken of how comfortable he feels at M-Sport, and the less onerous PR demands from a private team are another bonus for him.

Finances played a part in Citroen’s failure to sign Ogier for 2018, with PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares revealing budgets had been cut for this year.

He also stated at the time he was content with a line-up of Meeke and Breen.

Asked if Citroen had the money required to bring Ogier, Budar added: “I cannot answer the question of budget, I don’t want to talk about this.

“We have a budget and the company trusts us to use this in the best way for the team to win.

“It’s up to us, we have to use the budget in the best way we can to win.”



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