Sébastien Ogier drives Tuthill Porsche 911

Tuthill Porsche added another World Rally Champion to its list of drivers this week, as reigning world champion, Sébastien Ogier, took the wheel of a Tuthill 911 at our Below Zero Ice Driving camp in Åre, Sweden.

Testing in the nearby woods for this weekend’s Rally Sweden, Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia took a break from the WRC Volkswagen Polo and drove onto our frozen lake to get a closer look at Below Zero’s fleet of eight ice driving Tuthill Porsche 911s. World Rallycross star, Patrik Sandell, currently instructing at Below Zero, offered Sébastien a run in a Porsche, which the champ was happy to accept.

Sebastien Ogier Tuthill Porsche 1

Never a man to miss a content opportunity, Patrik got his phone out while sitting in the passenger seat and conducted a video interview as Sébastien enjoyed drifting the 911. “So Seb, do you think you will win Rally Sweden now?” asked Patrik. “Probably,” replied Seb. “You have to believe in yourself, always.”

We have just as much faith in Seb’s abilities as he has, but a third Ogier victory in Sweden is no certainty, as the rally has been forced to cancel eight stages and reconfigure the remainder due to a lack of snow and ice on the traditionally all-snow event. The rally organisers have also cancelled the shakedown and historic rally, while continuing to insist that competitors use studded tyres.

The use of studded tyres would result in the tarmac roads (which are normally protected by the snow layer) being shredded by the rally cars, which has led to the world champion calling for rally cancellation, on safety grounds. Speaking to local newspaper Varmlands Folkblad, the Volkswagen Motorsport driver claimed the revised rally was not safe to run.

Sebastien Ogier Tuthill Porsche 2
“The only routes we can run are in Norway,” said Ogier. “We can run a short sprint rally there, but the rest is a gravel rally and it would be completely unsafe to try and run the race. If we take studded tyres on tarmac, we’ll lose the studs immediately and then it becomes really dangerous. We are destroying the roads for no reason.”
Rally Sweden is one of our favourite WRC events but rallying this supremely quick event on studded tyres without snow is a different matter entirely. It is hard to disagree with the World Champion’s comments.
Back on the lakes, the weather for Below Zero Ice Driving has been perfect this year and the ice continues to be excellent fun in Porsche 911s. We still have a few driving days left before our camp shuts down for another year in March. Email info@belowzeroicedriving.com to put yourself in Ogier’s seat!