Volkswagen gives Sebastien Ogier a Ducati 1199 Panigale S “Senna”
To celebrate his second World Rally Championship title,
taken at the wheel of his Polo R WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport decided to present Sebastien
Ogier with a stunning, exclusive Ducati 1199 Panigale S "Senna".
A very special, elite bike, dedicated to the late F1 champion
Ayrton Senna, of whom Sebastien Ogier has always been a huge fan. Ogier received
the bike in person at the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale (Bologna), in a
handing-over ceremony attended by Domenicali (CEO of Ducati Motor Holding) and Gigi
Dall'Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) who greeted the driver warmly: Ogier,
in turn, was accompanied by Jost Capito (Head of Volkswagen Motorsport) and Sven
Smeets (Volkswagen WRC Team Manager). From Borgo Panigale, the bike went to
Wolfsburg, where the WRC drivers and team celebrated their world title victory in
the presence of Volkswagen employees and top management.
Ducati, in accordance with the Senna Foundation, in
making a contribution to the charitable and educational aims for which the
Foundation has been working since it was established, which is to reaffirm its
incredible respect and esteem for one of its most famous Ducatisti by producing a special colour scheme for its flagship
bike, the 1199 Panigale S.
The colour, chosen personally by Ayrton Senna during
his visit to Ducati a few weeks prior to his last race in Imola in '94, is the
same as the one seen on the 300 bikes of the first version dedicated to him,
produced in 1995. This was a grey, red-wheeled 916 SP, the 916 Senna I, which
was available only as a limited 300-bike edition. Another two versions
followed: the 916 Senna II and the 916 Senna III, manufactured and sold in 1997
and 1998 respectively. All three Senna versions were limited editions and are
still extremely rare and eagerly sought after by collectors worldwide.
The bike given to Sebastien Ogier, based on the 1199
Panigale S, features that very same colour scheme. Intended exclusively for the
Brazilian market - hence its unavailability in Europe and the need to have it
shipped from Brazil - the 1199 Panigale S "Senna" comes in a limited edition of
just 161 bikes (the number of GPs raced in F1 by Senna), the progressive numbering
indicated on an exclusive, specially designed top yoke.
Ogier received bike number 16, in memory of Senna's
first Formula 1 victory (Portuguese GP - John Player Special Lotus - 1985).
"For me, Ayrton Senna is the biggest hero in
motorsport", said Sebastien Ogier on receiving the bike. "He
was my idol. My father was a big fan of Senna and, when I was a young boy, he
took me to Monte Carlo to see him race. He was the best, he was fast in every
car, and he would never give in. It would have been great to meet him and get
to know him, but in any case, he remains a fine example in motorsport. This
Ducati 1199 Panigale "Senna" is a fantastic gift. I am very grateful to
Volkswagen, both for the bike and for the importance it has for me, as I really
admire Ayrton. The bike will for sure take pride of place in my home. They have
done a fantastic job in Ducati. It is such a beautiful bike that it will almost
be a shame to ride it on the road, so I will probably keep it in my living room!
It is also nice that it has the number 16, in memory of his first win in Formula
1. It was in Portugal, where I scored the first WRC win of my career."
The ceremony also provided Ogier with an opportunity
to take a tour of the factory and the Ducati racing department, and meet the
employees and technicians of the Borgo Panigale plant who, naturally, gave him
a very warm welcome.