Monte Carlo WRC: Ogier secures 50th career win

Sebastien Ogier has begun his final World Rally Championship campaign by sealing the eighth Monte Carlo victory of his illustrious career, marking the 50th time that he has stood atop the WRC podium.

Listen to this article

The defending drivers’ champion broke the record of seven Monte Carlo wins set by his former nemesis, Sebastien Loeb, and also equalled Walter Rohrl’s 37-year-old record of winning the WRC’s blue riband event with four different manufacturers during his career.

Toyota driver Ogier claimed victory on three of the four stages held on Sunday, including the Power Stage with its five additional points to be added to both his own score and, for the first time in WRC history, to the manufacturers’ championship total as well.

Britain’s Elfyn Evans finished second, completing a 1-2 finish for Toyota overall and a 1-2-3 in the Power Stage points behind Kalle Rovanpera.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville fought back from a difficult first couple of days to lead resistance against the Toyota juggernaut, finishing in an eventual third place overall alongside rookie co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe.

The Belgian took a blistering win on the penultimate test of the day but chose to settle for the bottom step of the podium rather than attempting to put pressure on Evans for second.

Read Also:

Rovanpera’s Toyota finished fourth with the Hyundai of Dani Sordo splitting him from the fourth Yaris of Toyota junior driver Takamoto Katsuta.

At the finish line, Ogier was emotional as he celebrated such a landmark achievement.

“It’s not a bad end of the weekend,” he said. “The car’s been amazing, I really enjoy the weekend, it’s been such a pleasure so I think I almost have tears in my eyes now.

“I think it was a good decision to do one more year, the team is great, such a huge thanks I want to give to all of you.”

For his part, runner-up Evans took consolation from looking at the big picture after bagging a good haul of points towards his 2021 championship ambitions.

“It’s been good but I just felt never 100 percent as it should have been,” he said. “Of course there were some good stages but never consistently where I would have really liked to be… Seb was better this weekend.”

The event marked the debut of Toyota’s new team principal, its erstwhile driver Jari-Matti Latvala, who expressed delight with his squad’s achievements.

“I must say I’m really, really proud for the team I mean, what a fantastic result,” he enthused.

“To have four cars in top six and then doing 1-2 victory, what else can I ask? And then maximum points on the Power Stage. It’s incredible. I couldn’t be in a better place where I am now and we have the best drivers.”

The euphoria in the Toyota camp was the polar opposite of the emotions being shown by its rivals at Hyundai and M-Sport.

Leader on the first day, Hyundai’s Ott Tanak was unable to restart on Sunday after two punctures on the penultimate day, and both Neuville and Sordo were forced to rein in their pace to secure the team’s points.

Neuville said: “I think we couldn’t have done really much better sometimes, we were missing a bit of confidence, but at the end it worked and we are there and good points for the team even if it wasn’t the greatest week for Hyundai.”

M-Sport’s chances of getting on the podium disappeared off the side of a mountain on the opening stage of the rally, alongside the Fiesta WRC of Teemu Suninen.

This left Gus Greensmith to fight on alone to finish in eighth place as the last of the top runners after a performance that he wants to put behind him as soon as possible.

“I’d say it’s been the worst performance of my career so far,” the Englishman said bluntly.

“It was really hard for all the guys back at M-Sport to even just get the cars here in this current situation so I felt, with the preparation I had, I should have delivered a much better performance.”

Seventh place overall went to the dominant winner of the WRC2 category, Andreas Mikkelsen, at the wheel of his Tok Sport Skoda Fabia.

Like Ogier, the Norwegian veteran started the event as odds-on favourite and put pressure on himself to dominate the category in his bid to return to a works WRC seat for 2022.

In WRC3, Yoann Rossel survived a late scare after his right rear tyre came off the rim on the final stage, but had enough in hand over his fellow Citroen drivers to claim the win.

Final results (Top 10):

Cla # Driver/Codriver Car Class Total Time Gap
1 1 France Sébastien Ogier
France Julien Ingrassia
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 2:56'33.700
2 33 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans
United Kingdom Scott Martin
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 2:57'06.300 32.600
3 11 Belgium Thierry Neuville
Belgium Martijn Wydaeghe
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 2:57'42.200 1'08.500
4 69 Finland Kalle Rovanperä
Finland Jonne Halttunen
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 2:58'57.300 2'23.600
5 6 Spain Dani Sordo
Spain Carlos del Barrio
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 2:59'42.900 3'09.200
6 18 Japan Takamoto Katsuta
United Kingdom Daniel Barritt
Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 3:03'35.000 7'01.300
7 25 Norway Andreas Mikkelsen
Norway Ola Floene
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo RC2 3:03'47.300 7'13.600
8 44 United Kingdom Gus Greensmith
United Kingdom Elliott Edmondson
Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 3:04'44.800 8'11.100
9 20 France Adrien Fourmaux
Belgium Renaud Jamoul
Ford Fiesta Rally2 RC2 3:05'39.500 9'05.800
10 24 France Eric Camilli
France François-Xavier Buresi
Citroën C3 Rally2 RC2 3:06'24.700 9'51.000
shares
comments

Related video

Ocon: WRC stars must have "balls of steel"
Previous article

Ocon: WRC stars must have "balls of steel"

Next article

Ogier "proud" to be Monaco great like boyhood idol Senna

Ogier "proud" to be Monaco great like boyhood idol Senna
Load comments
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Prime

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Prime

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Prime

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Prime

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Motorsport.com donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the life of a rally mechanic.

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Prime

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022
How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight Prime

How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight

After a blockbuster opening act to the new era of the World Rally Championship with the battle of the Sebastiens at Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden would be the first chance to assess the next superstar of rallying. While teething issues with the new hybrid power thwarted some of the cast, Kalle Rovanpera’s display gave him headline billing

WRC
Feb 28, 2022
The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation Prime

The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation

As the company selected to provide the hybrid kits for the 2022 World Rally Championship, the pressure was on Compact Dynamics at the Monte Carlo season opener. Needing to treat all three manufacturers equally, it wasn't a straightforward process, but its first big test was a resounding success that bodes well for the future.

WRC
Feb 25, 2022
The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption Prime

The mentality shift key to Lappi’s shot at WRC redemption

He appeared poised to become the World Rally Championship’s new bright young star five years ago, but Esapekka Lappi's fortunes since his 2017 breakthrough win offer a cautionary tale of how the tables can turn. Now having rebuilt his career, the Finn is determined to make the most of his second shot at the big time with Toyota.

WRC
Feb 23, 2022