World Rally Championship: Ogier with victory for eighth title

Sébastien Ogier is world champion for the eighth time. The 37-year-old Frenchman said goodbye to partial retirement in style with a victory at the Monza Rally. From 2022, after compatriot Sébastien Loeb (nine titles), the second most successful rally driver of all time only wants to drive selected World Championship races.
His new goal: the 24-hour race at Le Mans. “Today a journey that began 15 years ago ends for my co-driver Julien Ingrassia and me. To win the title again together with Toyota and also against a team-internal competitor is something very special. It’s a very emotional moment, ”Ogier admitted after crossing the finish line in a slightly brittle voice.
The championship leader and co-driver Julien Ingrassia, who also officially received a world title, had only one pursuer to fear at the finale on and around the Formula 1 racetrack in Monza: their Toyota team-mates Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin in the identical Yaris WRC (1 , 6-liter turbo gasoline engine, around 380 hp, all-wheel drive).

In fact, they didn’t give the competition a chance. By the end of the first stage, Evans and Ogier were separated from the rest of the field by more than 20 seconds, even separated by only 1.4 seconds.

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.

Although a second place would have been enough for Ogier to win the title, he never dreamed of driving for safety. On the contrary: He continued to attack Evans at full risk. In the course of the second stage he turned the tables and reached the goal of the day with a lead of a wafer-thin 0.5 seconds over his teammate. The Spaniard Dani Sordo, third fastest Hyundai works driver, was almost 30 seconds behind.

The last stage consisted exclusively of special stages on the grounds of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Ogier was once again very lucky when he hit one of the concrete blocks with a bike that marked one of the many chicanes on the racetrack. Apart from an impressive shower of sparks and rags torn from the rim and tire, the contact had no consequences.

Rival Evans, on the other hand, lost luck. He stalled the engine of his Yaris WRC twice. This finally decided the victory duel, during which Ogier and Evans swapped places at the top six times.

“Elfyn really put me under pressure to the last meter. If my contact with the concrete barrier had turned out differently, he would now be world champion. I haven’t had such a strong opponent in a long time, ”said Ogier.

With the double victory at the World Cup finals in Monza, Toyota also secured the manufacturers’ championship. Ex-works driver Jari-Matti Latvala, team principal at Toyota since the beginning of the 2021 season, was able to report three world titles to Japan in his first year of service.

The 2022 World Championship season starts with the Monte Carlo Rally from January 20 to 23. Then the new, over 500 hp World Rally Cars with hybrid drive will celebrate their premiere.

Result Rally Monza

1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2: 39: 08.6 hours
2. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC), +7.3 seconds
3. Dani Sordo / Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), +21.3 seconds
4. Thierry Neuville / Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), +32.0 seconds
5. Oliver Solberg / Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), +1: 32.0 minutes
6. Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), +2: 22.6 minutes

Final result of the World Championship after 12 rallies

1. Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris WRC), 230 points
2. Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris WRC), 207 points
3. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), 176 points
4. Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris WRC), 142 points
5. Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), 128 points
6. Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), 81 points

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