Redbull.com: Sébastien, congratulations on winning the first WRC round this year in Monte Carlo!
Sébastien Ogier: Thanks, what a perfect start to the season! The team did a fantastic job and I’m overjoyed. It was an amazing feeling to win the Rallye Monte-Carlo in these difficult conditions – especially now that the Monte is a round of the World Championship again.
You’ll have even more snow in Sweden. How do you like this rally?
For sure Rally Sweden is one of my favourite rallies on the calendar. Especially because together with Volkswagen we had our first victory here last year in a great battle with Sébastien Loeb. That was so far the best performance of my career I think. We went always flat out like Loeb and we had to give 100 percent every minute on the stages. In the end it paid off and we won this enormous challenge.
Becoming Rally World Champion
Snow, gravel or tarmac – you’ve now won on all of them. What’s your favourite rally in the world and your favourite stage?
That’s a difficult question, there are so many nice rallies and stages in WRC. On tarmac, it’s Moulinet at Rallye Monte-Carlo and on gravel, Ouninpohja in Finland – fast with so many jumps, which makes it really fun to drive. In general, the fast rallies like Sweden, Portugal or Finland are my favourite types of rally, with lots of fast flowing roads.
What's been your most emotional moment as an athlete?
Definitely to win the 2013 world championship at Rallye de France. When Julien and I crossed the finish in the Power Stage and realised we were world champions that was an incredible moment! It’s a dream coming true that you worked so hard to reach. Everybody was there to congratulate us and at that moment you are just overwhelmed by emotions.
Citroën vs Volkswagen
You’ve now driven two different championship-winning cars – Citroën’s DS3 WRC and the Volkswagen Polo R WRC. What are the differences between the two?
Well both are very good cars and my memories of driving the DS3 WRC tell me it was also very good, so I don’t expect it has changed much – but really I don’t know! The Polo R WRC is also excellent, which you could see looking back on its ten wins during last season. It’s very easy to drive and has a very good engine. And even more importantly, it´s extremely reliable. We didn’t have any serious technical problem during the whole season; we didn’t suffer one engine failure or any other technical issue.
Who do you think will be your toughest challenger in 2014?
First of all my team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala. Then it will be interesting to see Thierry Neuville with Hyundai in Sweden after their bad luck in Monte Carlo. And Citroën of course is a strong team with a lot of experience, and with Mads [Ostberg] and Kris Meeke they’ve also got strong drivers. And for sure Robert Kubica I have on the list, especially after his first day at the Rallye Monte-Carlo!
And finally, you turned 30 in December. What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received?
My first cross-kart when I was eight years old. My dad had to close the road in our small village and then I could have my first gravel experiences [laughs].