Ogier and Volkswagen set to dominate again with Citroen absent


With Citroen set to take a hiatus in 2016, the possibility of seeing the end of Sebastien Ogier and Volkswagen's World Rally Championship dominance looks increasingly slim.

Since Sebastien Loeb, who won the title every year between 2003 and 2012, retired from full-time racing in 2013 French compatriot Ogier has taken on the mantle from his former rival.

The only difference is that Volkswagen and not Citroen are now the dominant manufacturer, and Ogier heads into this weekend's season-opener in Monte Carlo having won the World Rally championship three years on the spin.

The Frenchman, winner of eight of 13 rounds in 2015, has triumphed two years running in Monte Carlo - which this year goes through his home town of Gap - and Ogier is still hungry for more success.

"I have won the Monte for the past two years," he told Crash.net. "I would obviously like to win it again this year.

"For me, it is the most important rally of the year."

The biggest threat to Ogier's title is likely to come from in house, with Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen rounding off a Volkswagen one-two-three in the 2015 standings.

Such is the strength of the German team, Citroen have opted to put their focus into testing and developing a new model ready to challenge next year - although their DS3 car will be present at selected rounds with customer team PH Sport - under the 'Abu Dhabi Total WRT' banner.

That decision prompted Mads Ostberg to re-join M-Sport Ford, who themselves only agreed to commit to an extended 14-round season on Wednesday due to finance concerns.

Had they opted to not to do so, it would have left Volkswagen and Hyundai as the only full-time manufacturers this season.

But team principal Malcolm Wilson confirmed that funding is in place.

"It's very good news for us. M-Sport has been a constant at the World Rally Championship since round one in 1997 and I really didn't want to miss a round this time around," he told Autosport.

Hyundai are possibly best placed to take on Volkswagen with a brand new chassis and suspension tweaks to this year's model.

Lead driver Thierry Neuville had a dip in form in the latter stage of 2015, but the Belgian has the talent to be Ogier's biggest non-Volkswagen threat.