Sébastien Ogier feels unrewarded after his performances at the last two FIA World Rally Championship fixtures in Turkey and Italy.
The Frenchman, chasing a seventh world title, retired from September’s Rally Turkey when his Toyota Yaris stopped with an engine problem when heading for a podium.
He was edged out of second by Thierry Neuville in Sunday’s thrilling rally-closing Wolf Power Stage at Rally Italia Sardegna, leaving him 14 points adrift of team-mate Elfyn Evans at the head of the championship battle.
After losing time during Friday’s opening leg when he swept Sardinia’s dusty roads, Ogier won six of the 10 speed tests across the weekend. But he couldn’t fend off Neuville, who overturned a 1.7sec deficit in the final test to finish 1.0sec ahead.
“I feel that our results in the last two rallies are a poor reward for our efforts, retiring in Turkey and now a third place here which doesn’t reflect our true level over the weekend,” said Ogier.
“Third place only six seconds behind the winner and a few points gained on the championship leader means the outcome here is a good one. However, I have to admit we were aiming for something better and I think we had the potential to get it.
“I gave it everything behind the wheel, the team did a very good job and our performance was very solid. The speed was there and we can be especially satisfied considering our road position on the first day compared to that of our rivals. Unfortunately, having to sweep the road cost us too much time.”
Two rounds remain in Belgium and Italy, both of which take place on asphalt, so Ogier has no more road cleaning duties to worry about. Having trimmed Evans’ lead by four points, he remains optimistic of adding another title to his tally.
“I want to see this slight frustration in a positive way because the performance is there, as shown by the good times we set and our six stage wins, and that’s important for the future.
“I hope now that we can reap the rewards of our effort over the next two rallies. I’m confident it will pay off in the end,” he added.