Ogier to keep revised aero package
Despite a less-than-stellar performance at Neste Rally Finland, Sébastien Ogier is set to continue to use M-Sport’s new aerodynamic package which debuted at the Nordic event.
Ogier struggled at the rally and ultimately needed assistance from team-mates Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen, who both deliberately conceded time, in order to finish in fifth place. The upgrade package on Ogier’s Fiesta was developed in conjunction with Ford Performance at the firm’s wind tunnel in Concord, North Carolina, to develop higher levels of downforce and features a heavily revised rear bumper with large louvered exits behind the rear wheels and a profile which tapers into a new diffuser.
Ogier made constant changes to the car’s set up over the rally in order to unlock pace from the Fiesta, but was unable to master the new package. This led to speculation that he might revert to the older specification of aero for the upcoming ADAC Rallye Deutschland, allowing the new unit to undergo further development, however, his M-Sport engineers have confirmed that he will in fact keep the new package.
Ogier also used new Sachs shock absorbers for the first time in Finland, replacing the Reiger suspension that he usually uses. However, engineers said this was not a permanent replacement, emphasising that it has never been in the team’s development plan to use the new dampers on asphalt this season.
“We expected to be better than that. Last year the car was performing well in Finland. Every member of the team set a fastest time and it looked like the package was OK, but I was surprised this year,” Ogier explained.
“It looks like it was the slowest of all. There was not much to do. We have to try to analyse why it was like this.”
He was however grateful that despite the problems, he was at least able to cut the deficit to championship leader Thierry Neuville to just 21 points, noting that it was “the only positive we can take out of this weekend”.
“That’s still the main target so if there has to be a lot of negatives, at least I will still take this one because it was important to score more points than Thierry.”