One conquered the twisty streets of Monaco – twice – in a Formula 1 car putting out more than 750 horsepower: an exercise likened by one world champion to “riding a bicycle round your bathroom.”
The other has won the last four Monte Carlo rallies on the trot – and is set to make it a record-breaking five consecutive wins if he triumphs again this weekend.
So what did Mark Webber and Sebastien Ogier talk about when they met before the start of Rallye Monte-Carlo? Plenty of things, as it turned out. Red Bull TV broadcasts from 22:00 tonight (CET) featuring Mark as guest reporter.
Mark’s completely new to rallying but he isn’t new to Monaco, having set a few records of his own there. In 2010 he became the first Australian to win the grand prix since Sir Jack Brabham in 1959. And when Mark triumphed again in 2012 it was another first: the first-time ever that there had been six different winners in the first six races of a Formula 1 season.
So what’s harder: Formula 1 or driving on a rally?
“Rally drivers have to work within a much wider operating window than we do: our range is a lot narrower,” says Mark with a smile. “I really admire what these guys do, on ice and snow and through trees and whatever. Seb’s younger than me and he’s probably got more talent than me, so I reckon he’s faster!”
He’s happy to joke about who’s quicker but one thing Mark doesn’t want to do though is jump into a rally car to find out for himself. In fact, he’d probably rather have his teeth extracted without anesthetic…
“I’m the world’s worst passenger, even when I’m just being driven around on the road,” he says. “So being a co-driver definitely isn’t for me. In fact, being a rally driver might not be right for me either, with someone telling you what to do and where to go all the time!”
The difference is, there are 19 corners on the 3.337-kilometer Monaco Grand Prix circuit. On the 1,411.79-kilometer Rallye Monte Carlo itinerary, there are more like 10,000 corners.
Seb is more enthusiastic about a job swap one day, having already sampled Monaco when he drove in the Porsche Super cup at the 2013 Grand Prix support race. “I don’t think I’d like to be a Formula 1 driver, but I’d certainly like to try a Formula 1 car,” says the four-time world rally champion. “I always like trying new cars, so I’m looking forward to Mark telling me about Formula 1. In any case, I think it’s quite difficult to change: maybe up to a point you can get close, but then to find that last little bit of time is really complicated. A bit like Rallye Monte-Carlo in fact, which is one of the most tricky rallies on the championship – and also my home event. So of course, it would be really special for me to win.”
What’s the secret to success in Monte-Carlo? How close did Seb come to not driving at all this year? And what does Mark think about his first taste of the WRC? He’s got all weekend to find out….