M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson has praised Sébastien Ogier for his victory at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on May 18-21, and believes set-up changes to the Ford Fiesta have transformed the Frenchman’s approach.
Ogier secured his second win of the season in Portugal, managing the disadvantage of running first through the first day’s loose gravel stages before moving ahead on the second day and protecting his lead on the final day of competition.
Wilson said Ogier’s speed in the Fiesta on both new and swept stages had improved since the last round in Argentina where Ogier also cleaned the stages on day one, but wasn’t able to claw back the time lost when his road position improved.
“What he did managing the time loss on the opening day here was just fantastic. He knew that he didn’t take advantage in Argentina of his road position on day two. That, coupled with a few of the changes we have made to the car have made him more comfortable. The car suits him more and we’ve seen a different Sébastien here,” Wilson told wrc.com.
“He’s happy with the car now. It’s taken a while to get the set-up exactly where he wants to be but he’s now starting to understand the car,” he added.
Wilson said a development test after Argentina where the team worked on suspension and differential settings had been a turning point.
“He was frustrated by Argentina, but we made a real difference in the test we had here in Portugal. The feedback from the engineers was very positive. Seb [Ogier] was happy with the set-up we found and he didn’t change it on the event. We’ve found the sweet spot, and that’s the difference,” said Wilson.