WRC Monza: Ogier edges Evans to close in on eighth world title

Sebastien Ogier remains on course for an eighth World Rally Championship title but holds only a slender 0.5s margin over rival Elfyn Evans ahead of Rally Monza’s final day.

The Toyota title rivals have been involved in a thrilling victory battle with the lead changing hands on five occasions across six stages that comprised the longest day of the season finale in Italy.

Evans initially held a 1.4s lead heading into Saturday’s action but promptly lost the advantage in the morning’s first stage on the Bergamo mountain roads to Ogier.

The Welshman responded only to lose the lead again as Ogier took a 5.2s advantage into the afternoon and evening stages at the Monza grand prix circuit.

Incredibly Ogier then saw his lead evaporate again as Evans won the first blast through 14.39km Sottozero stage to open up a 0.3s margin.

But there was one last twist in the battle as Ogier fought back to edge Evans by 0.8s on the stage 13, the last of the day, to reinstate a rally lead, albeit only 0.5s prior to Sunday’s final three tests.

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The Frenchman, competing in his last event as a full-time WRC driver, realistically only needs to navigate Sunday’s final three stages to lift an eighth title.

"[Winning the rally] is not the plan,” said Ogier after the day’s final stage. “I struggled in the first pass and in this one I had a bit different tyre choice and I don't know if that helped me make a difference."

Evans hopes of securing a maiden WRC title and a fairest for a British driver since 2001 remains lim but is poised to punch should his rival slip up.

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo, who won the day's final stage, will head into Sunday in third, 27.4s shy of Ogier, and comfortably 19.2s ahead of teammate Thierry Neuville. The Belgian started the day in the final podium spot but crashed on stage 9 handing the position to Sordo.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Oliver Solberg, driving a 2C Competition Hyundai, continued his strong pace to remain in fifth which, if he coverts on Sunday, will be his best result in a WRC car, in only his fourth top flight outing.

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta ended the day in sixth ahead of Teemu Suninen, standing in for Hyundai's 2019 world champion Ott Tanak, and M-Sport Ford’s Gus Greensmith.

The final Toyota of Kalle Rovanpera is ninth and last of the WRC runners to complete the full distance having been ordered to run conservatively by his team.

Rally Monza will conclude on Sunday after three more stages based in the confines of the Monza grand prix circuit.

Cla Driver/Codriver Car Total Time Gap Interval
1 France Sébastien Ogier
France Julien Ingrassia
Toyota Yaris WRC 2:13'27.200
2 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans
United Kingdom Scott Martin
Toyota Yaris WRC 2:13'27.700 0.500 0.500
3 Spain Dani Sordo
Candido Carrera
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:13'54.600 27.400 26.900
4 Belgium Thierry Neuville
Belgium Martijn Wydaeghe
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:14'13.800 46.600 19.200
5 Sweden Oliver Solberg
United Kingdom Elliott Edmondson
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:14'48.400 1'21.200 34.600
6 Japan Takamoto Katsuta
Aaron Johnston
Toyota Yaris WRC 2:15'06.000 1'38.800 17.600
7 Finland Teemu Suninen
Finland Mikko Markkula
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:15'44.300 2'17.100 38.300
8 United Kingdom Gus Greensmith
Sweden Jonas Andersson
Ford Fiesta WRC 2:15'52.000 2'24.800 7.700
9 Finland Kalle Rovanperä
Finland Jonne Halttunen
Toyota Yaris WRC 2:17'06.300 3'39.100 1'14.300
10 Andrea Crugnola
Pietro Ometto
Hyundai i20 N Rally2 2:21'34.300 8'07.100 4'28.000
shares
comments
WRC Monza: Ogier reclaims lead as titanic battle continues
Previous article

WRC Monza: Ogier reclaims lead as titanic battle continues

Next article

Ogier keeping WRC title thoughts in check after “crazy” fight with Evans

Ogier keeping WRC title thoughts in check after “crazy” fight with Evans
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021