Please stop with all the “Ogier won only because Loeb is gone” silliness

Can someone please help me understand this thing? Or rather, don’t because it makes no sense at all. I ran into this argument several times today and the more I think about it, the less sense it makes. Perhaps I’m wrong, though, it surely wouldn’t be the first time. On to the argument.

According to some, Sebastien Ogier was only able to clinch his first title thanks to/because of absence of Sebastien Loeb from most of the events this year. Now, I have no energy at this hour to go on a lengthy debate about this, so I’ll try to keep it simple. Perhaps the absence of Loeb did help Ogier to gather points and victories easier than he otherwise would be able to, but to outright claim that Ogier would not, and I repeat not, be able to collect enough points to eventually win the 2013 World Rally Championship crown is downright silly.

Such idea is not based on reason or facts. Simply because nobody was able to challenge Loeb for nine years does not mean it would go on for another nine years. Furthermore, in 2011 Sebastien Ogier was pushing Loeb so hard that he caused an internal conflict in Citro├źn. Then Ogier jumped over to Volkswagen last year and he was not part of the pack that went after Loeb in a failed attempt to deny him the ninth title. I repeat, OGIER WAS NOT IN WRC LAST YEAR. That alone disqualifies any idea about Loeb continuing his utter dominance now that Ogier is back in business in a very fast and capable car. Because Sebastien Ogier is not just another driver who is out there competing and failing to catch Loeb. He can catch Loeb.

To claim Loeb would beat Ogier as he beat other drivers is to say Ogier is not better or worse than any other driver. That, my friends, is pure bollocks – each driver has individual qualities and to slap them all into one bundle and say “you all suck compared to Loeb” is wrong if at least one of those drivers had no real chance of fighting Loeb for a season or two.

But if all these facts fail, there is one that is rock solid. We cannot say how successful Seb Loeb would be this year because he, well, is gone! And that’s the end of it really. He is gone, out of the picture. Why did he leave is another question, but it is irrelevant here. Had he (Loeb) remained in the WRC for another year, I am sure it would be a year to remember, but he didn’t. Predicting who would win the 2013 crown if Loeb did not leave would be very hard if not downright impossible. But Loeb would not walk over Ogier with such horrible ease as he did over many others over the years.

The fact is we were denied the true duel. And we will never really know who is better of the two, but perhaps there is no better or worse in this case. Seb Loeb won nine titles, Seb Ogier just won his first. The latter is only warming up for the real onslaught in the years to come. There is no comparing them, not like that. Loeb is of another generation, he ruled it and conquered it and shattered countless records in his time, but then he decided to quit. No, him leaving had little to do with Ogier claiming the 2013 title simply because he left. He (Loeb) did not fight, he did not retire mid season saying “I had enough, here, take this title kiddo”, he left. We were denied this duel and simply because it didn’t happen it’s impossible to say which Sebastien would be the one holding the champion’s trophy this year.

I do understand, to a point, the idea these people have, but it makes no sense. Sure you can think that Loeb did a class A troll move by quitting so that Ogier can win his little title now the Master is gone, but I don’t think Loeb would be bothered with such nonsense. Really.

And yes, I too have a very hard time when it comes to letting go of the past. I hated Michael Schumacher but I rooted for him so hard when he returned because he was part of the time in my life I really enjoyed. I have hard time letting go of Seb Loeb too and I really hoped he would remain here for another year or two. But things change.