Monza WRC: Ogier wins to claim seventh title

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier took his seventh WRC world championship at a dramatic Monza Rally, as Hyundai claimed the manufacturers’ crown.

It was a relatively low-key run around the Villa Reale for the surviving crews, following the drama on Saturday’s closed road stages in the mountains.

Ogier won the first stage of the day with his Toyota teammate Kalle Rovanpera second, which helped to open up the gap to the pursuing Hyundais of Dani Sordo and Ott Tanak.

Early leader Sordo slipped to third behind Tanak, then reasserted himself to win the second stage of the morning with Tanak second and M-Sport’s Esapekka Lappi a strong third.

That made little difference to the overall result, and Ogier only really had to complete the final Power Stage to claim his seventh drivers' world title.

The Power Stage saw Takamoto Katsuta finish fastest in the fourth of the works Toyotas as the rain progressively made conditions more treacherous as the field passed through.

Those maximum bonus points claimed by Katsuta would have been welcomed by Elfyn Evans, who returned after a Saturday crash all but ended his title hopes. The Welshman pressed on a little too hard and had a messy run with the car stalling twice.

Evans ended up third fastest, behind outgoing champion Ott Tanak's Hyundai but ahead of M-Sport's Esapekka Lappi and the Hyundai of Dani Sordo, who cleaned up the last remaining bonus points.

It was to prove an emotional day for Lappi, who announced that this would be his last WRC appearance for the foreseeable future as he crossed the finish line at the end of the day.

Ogier’s run through the stage was far from comfortable, driving through the churned-up gravel on asphalt settings and in teeming rain.

The Frenchman's predicament was made worse when the windscreen wipers failed briefly and he was forced to kick-start them by using the screen wash before the road ahead disappeared entirely from view.

But Ogier held on to take the overall win with a margin of 13.9s from Tanak, enough to secure his seventh crown in eight years with the third different manufacturer.

“It doesn’t sound so bad, I have to say!” he said at the finish.

“Of course we feel for Elfyn also today he has made a very strong season, very consistent, and we had really good fun to fight each other…

“But today, yeah, I’m very happy. Not jumping in the air maybe like crazy because right now we are living in a time that, you know, a lot of people are suffering all over the world and I mean, you have to be decent.”

With second and third place points in the bag, separated by just 1.4s at the finish, Hyundai was able to bring home the manufacturers’ title that team principal Andrea Adamo prioritised above all else in the season.

“It’s complicated. So many images are passing by now,” Adamo said.

“I know how much we have fought, how much pressure we had, what I had to do to try to protect everyone. Everyone has been somehow personally touched [by COVID-19] and this year everyone lost someone, maybe… I also have some friends that are no more with me due to this.”

Read Also:

In the other classes, WRC refugee Mads Ostberg finished a strong rally in his factory-backed Citroen C3 to beat Skoda’s Pontus Tidemand to the rally win and the title.

“It’s been a crazy year, I mean we are winning the championship as the underdog, the other teams has done more rallies than us, we have the fewest rallies and we have developed the car through the year,” he said.

“It’s for sure something special to be world champion. Even though it’s WRC2, it’s a world championship and we have just won it.”

The WRC3 class saw a 1-2 finish for Skoda as another WRC refugee, Andreas Mikkelsen, headed home rising star Oliver Solberg. The title, however, fell to Hyundai’s Jari Huttunen, whose third place was enough to overhaul Bolivian-British driver Marco Bulcacia Wilkinson.

Sweden’s Tom Kristensson completed the title winners crowned on the event, claiming the Junior WRC title and winning a fully-funded season in WRC3 in an M-Sport Fiesta for 2021.

shares
comments

Related video

Monza WRC: Ogier closes in on title after Evans crash

Previous article

Monza WRC: Ogier closes in on title after Evans crash

Next article

How Monza's lottery winner matched a 27-year-old record

How Monza's lottery winner matched a 27-year-old record
Load comments
How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Prime

How Finland's newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Prime

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Prime

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win.

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021