The Frenchman launched his world championship career at the gravel event back in 2008 when he scored a debut victory in the Junior WRC category, but he believes the rally is becoming increasingly tougher.

There was a high rate of attrition at this year’s event, with Ogier himself suffering problems en route to a 30.2sec win over Ott Tänak. It was his second success of the season since rejoining Citroën Racing and cut the gap to championship leader Tänak to four points.

“It has been a very challenging weekend and definitely not one of my easier wins. This is becoming a trend on the WRC now. Never easy conditions and more challenging than the last years,” he said.

“So many drivers were getting into trouble and so many cars retired. When you do the recce the roads are beautiful, but it has become much more when you race this rally. It was very hot this year, hotter than recent years.”

Ogier has scored two second places in addition to his five wins. The only event in which he has been more successful is Rallye Monte-Carlo, at which he has six victories.

“It’s always sweet because this is a special rally. Back here in 2008 I celebrated my first victory in junior category. It was a dream to be here and it was the launch of my world career. I have a very special connection with this rally,” he added.