LOEB VS OGIER: REMEMBERING SOME OF THEIR CLASSIC BATTLES
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Written by Apostolos Papageorgiou, Edited by Will Stephens
With the rally of Portugal just around the corner. Knowing that Sebastien Loeb will be competing alongside his compatriot and fierce rival Sebastien Ogier, I thought it would be a great time to take a look back at some of their most memorable battles, in chronological order.
1) PORTUGAL 2010
We begin, somewhat fittingly, in the same place the pair will be scrapping this weekend, 12 years ago. That time, Ogier, driving for the Citroen junior team, dominated on Friday, the first proper day of the rally, winning every stage after SS4. Loeb fought back on Saturday, going fastest on three of the day’s five stages, to end up 21 seconds behind Ogier going into the final day. Despite the pressure, Ogier kept his cool in Portugal’s blazing heat to win a WRC event for the first time. This put him second in the standings and was a much-needed confidence boost, having lost the win last time out in New Zealand on the last stage. So strong was Ogier’s performance that Loeb labelled him “his new rival” after the rally.
2) GERMANY 2011
Fast forward a year and Ogier is now teammates with Loeb at Citroen and also fighting for the title. The pair is in a class of their own as they battle for the lead on day one. On Saturday morning, however, Citroen decided to implement team orders, meaning Ogier would have to hold position in second. Although he obeyed them, the Frenchman made his frustration clear. In a bizarre twist of fate, Loeb suffered a punct
ure, handing the lead to Ogier, who eventually won by 40 seconds, becoming the first man other than his teammate to do so in Germany. Still, this incident convinced Ogier to leave Citroen for the upcoming VW project at the end of the season.
3) SPAIN 2018
Coming to Spain, the penultimate round of the season, three drivers were in championship contention: Thierry Neuville, Ott Tanak and Ogier. Meanwhile, Loeb was on his third and final rally of the year for Citroen. Day one, consisting exclusively of gravel stages, saw some incredible action that ended with Ogier fourth and Loeb down in seventh. Saturday saw a return to the tarmac, but along with it came the rain. And of course it was the two Sebastien's who tamed it to finish the day first and second, Ogier leading Loeb by a little over three seconds. However, at the start of the final day, Loeb took the lead and didn’t look back. Not even a small mistake could cost him victory, Citroen’s first of the year and the Frenchman's first in five years. Ogier might have felt disappointed to lose out, though taking the championship lead must’ve been some consolation.
4) MONTE CARLO 2022
Our most recent entry in this list had a lot of firsts. It was Loeb’s first rally with M sport and his new co-driver, Isabelle Galmiche. Ogier also had a new co-driver, Benjamin Veillas. And let’s not forget that it was the start of a new era of WRC cars. Still, it was the usual suspects at the top, with Ogier Leading after Thursday night, only for Loeb and M sport to dominate the next day. Ogier fought back come Saturday, managing to not only get into the lead but also open quite a gap to Loeb, who made a wrong tire choice. The victory was almost certain for Ogier until a puncture on the penultimate stage handed the lead back to his arch rival, who duly went on to win his 80th rally, M-Sport’s first since, somewhat ironically, Ogier won in Wales in 2018. It was also Loeb’s first win with a car other than a citroen in the WRC.