WRC

Seventh heaven: Sébastien Ogier snatches 7th WRC title in wild Monza final

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It was joy for Sébastien Ogier as he claimed his 7th WRC title in eight years in a thrilling Monza series finale, but heartbreak for Elfyn Evans after he crashed out of the championship lead in Italy.
Written by Benjamin SaldiasPublished on
Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia came from behind to win their seventh FIA World Rally Championship title in eight seasons after claiming victory in a thrilling final race of the 2020 season at ACI Rally Monza on Sunday afternoon.
Ogier started the final round at the iconic motor racing circuit facing a 14-point deficit to Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans, who was looking to secure his first WRC crown in Italy. Ogier took the lead on Saturday morning, but Evans's measured pace kept the Welshman on course for a maiden championship success.
Evans's dream ended in devastating fashion, however, when he crashed down a bank after being caught out by treacherous snow-covered mountain roads.
Elfyn Evans is seen racing during the World Rally Championship ACI Monza in Monza, Italy on December 5, 2020.
Elfyn Evans looked set for the title until the conditions caught him out
Following Evans's heartbreak, Ogier eased through Sunday's rain-soaked final leg at Monza's Cathedral of Speed circuit to win the rally by 13.9s from Ott Tänak and take his seventh World Rally Championship crown by eight points. French drivers have now claimed the WRC title in 16 of last 17 years.
After a weekend characterised by never-ending rain at the Monza circuit and snow blanketing the roads higher in the Italian Alps, Ogier endured one final scare in the last kilometres when the wipers on his Yaris briefly failed, leaving him with no visibility behind a muddy windscreen.
"Oh, that was scary! I knew there were still a couple of narrow gates to pass and it would have been challenging without seeing anything," said Ogier, who's now won the WRC title with three different manufacturers. "It's been a difficult weekend. We feel for Elfyn also today. He drove a very strong season, very consistent, and we had really good fun fighting each other. I'm very happy and I feel very privileged."
Sebastien Ogierof team Toyota Yaris WRC Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT celebrate the world rally champion 2020 title during the World Rally Championship ACI Monza on December 6, 2020.
Ogier and Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrate their 2020 success
Outgoing champion Tänak finished second in a Hyundai i20, just 1.4s ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo. The double podium from the pair was sufficient to secure back-to-back manufacturers' titles for Hyundai Motorsport by five points from Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Tänak and Sordo traded places throughout Sunday's three-stage finale, with the Estonian eventually sealing runner-up spot in the closing test.
Early rally leader Esapekka Lappi finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta, matching his best result of the season. The Finn was 30.7s behind Tänak, but 21.6s clear of Kalle Rovanperä in the third Toyota Yaris. WRC 3 winner Andreas Mikkelsen completed the top six in a Skoda Fabia.
A disappointed Evans restarted the rally on Sunday morning after his crash and finished 26th.
Dani Sordo is seen racing during the World Rally Championship ACI Monza in Monza, Italy on December 4, 2020.
Dani Sordo signed off for the season with a strong third