World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier says there was no point try to ‘force’ a Rally Poland result with “kamikaze” risks.
Winner Thierry Neuville cut Ogier’s advantage to 11 points last weekend, as the reigning WRC champion had two punctures, a spin and an alternator problem.
Ogier fell as low as sixth but finished third, and said he had no qualms about taking a consistent approach.
“We saved as many points as we could,” he said.
“First of all, weather conditions were not easy.
“I have never been a kamikaze behind the wheel.
“I have always trusted in my feeling above all else and I tend not to force things if I feel I’m not 100% in control.
“It was the case on those ploughed-up and super-slippery roads, and at times I didn’t dare take those additional risks to have the optimum speed.
“The final result proves that it wasn’t a bad decision. Our regularity during the weekend offered us an important result since we have a top-three finish and some big points.
“Taking more risks wouldn’t have been enough to get the win anyway, partly because of the handicap of opening the road the first day on those super muddy roads and also considering a certain amount of bad luck and all those little issues we faced.”
Ogier believes Ott Tanak’s crash and Jari-Matti Latvala’s clutch failure in Poland distilled the title fight into a head-to-head between him and Neuville.
“Two of the four main title contenders lost lots of points and the competition has become a lot clearer now,” he said.
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
Tanak was fighting Neuville for the rally lead when he damaged his M-Sport Ford on Sunday morning, causing him to apologise to the thousands of Estonian fans who had travelled to the event to support him.
M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson felt Tanak had been “very unlucky” in the incident.
“We saw so many people making mistakes on that particularly tricky section,” said Wilson.
“He was setting incredible pace and he can go to Finland confident in his ability to challenge for the win.
“This will only make him stronger and more determined, that is something I am sure of.”
Wilson was also buoyed by the “fantastic” performance of Teemu Suninen as he stepped up from M-Sport’s WRC2 team for the first of two World Rally Car outings.
He finished sixth on his top-class debut but was on course for fifth before a final-stage spin.
“I don’t know what happened with the spin,” said Suninen, who felt the error marred his performance.
“I didn’t understand it, we didn’t have anything like this moment earlier in the event.”
Suninen admitted one of the biggest things he learned was the need for consistency.
“I have seen here that you need to be fast and consistent to be on top of this class,” he said.
“Here if you do a mistake you are eighth or 10th but in WRC2 you can still be in the top three.”