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Ogier's Citroen switch opens another door to Meeke's WRC return in 2019

 

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Return: Sebastien Ogier is going back to Citroen

Return: Sebastien Ogier is going back to Citroen

Return: Sebastien Ogier is going back to Citroen

Five-time World rally champion Sebastien Ogier is to leave the M-Sport Ford team and re-join Citroen for the 2019 season.

In a move which may open one more door for a possible return of Kris Meeke to the WRC series, Ogier has opted to leave Ford and return to the team he left back in 2011.

After a dispute over his role at Citroen which was then led by multi-champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier departed for Volkswagen and won four back-to-back titles.

When VW withdrew in the wake of the diesel scandal in America, Ogier moved to the Cumbria-based Ford team and won the championship again in 2017.

But as Citroen seek to revamp their team in the wake of Meeke's sacking after his Rally Portugal crash in May, they have been making new overtures to Ogier - and this time with an offer he has been unable to refuse.

"There were various factors that influenced my decision," explained Ogier.

"I really like the idea of working again with people with whom things went pretty well a few years back and I'm also excited by the chance to try and pull off the challenge of becoming world champion with a third different manufacturer."

Although Craig Breen is out of contract at the end of this season the two-time Circuit of Ireland winner is expected to remain with the team.

However, there is increasing speculation another former Circuit of Ireland winner, Esapekka Lappi, is in advanced talks about a switch from Toyota to Citroen.

It has been fuelled by Toyota boss Tommi Makinen admitting he has been in contact with Meeke.

But, aware that Ogier was close to leaving in the light of lukewarm commitment from Ford at an official level, it is believed M-Sport owner Malcolm Wilson has also spoken to the Dungannon driver in recent weeks.

Belfast Telegraph


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