Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier has begun his final World Rally Championship campaign by sealing a record eighth Monte Carlo victory and the 50th WRC win of his career.
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.
A single loop of two stages run twice apiece greeted the field on their final morning, with crystalline skies and a healthy dose of snow and ice to conjure the classic Monte Carlo backdrop.
Ogier claimed victory on three of the four stages, including the all-important powerstage 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 powerstage points.
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.
Kalle 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 in Entrevaux, Ogier was brim-full of emotion 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.”
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.
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 less than half way through the final stage but had enough in hand over his fellow Citroen drivers to claim the win.
WRC Monte Carlo final result
|1||RC1||Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||2h56m33.7s|
|2||RC1||Elfyn Evans, S.Martin||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||32.6s|
|3||RC1||Thierry Neuville, M.Wydaeghe||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||1m13.5s|
|4||RC1||Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen||2m33.6s|
|5||RC1||Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio||Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT||3m14.2s|
|6||RC1||Takamoto Katsuta, D.Barritt||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||7m01.3s|
|7||WRC2||Andreas Mikkelsen, O.Floene||Toksport WRT||7m23.6s|
|8||RC1||Gus Greensmith, E.Edmondson||M-Sport Ford WRT||8m21.1s|
|9||WRC2||Adrien Fourmaux, R.Jamoul||M-Sport Ford WRT||9m15.8s|
|10||WRC2||Eric Camilli, F-X.Buresi||Sports & You||10m36.0s|
|11||WRC3||Yohan Rossel, B.Fulcrand||11m47.1s|
|12||WRC2||Nikolay Gryazin, K.Aleksandrov||Movisport SRL||11m59.6s|
|13||RC2||Yoann Bonato, B.Boulloud||12m56.3s|
|14||WRC3||Nicolas Ciamin, Y.Roche||14m50.2s|
|15||WRC2||Marco Bulacia Wilkinson, M.Der Ohannesian||Toksport WRT||16m15.4s|
|16||RC1||Pierre-Louis Loubet, V.Landais||Hyundai 2C Competition||18m16.4s|
|17||WRC2||Sean Johnston, A.Kihurani||Sainteloc Junior Team||20m25.8s|
|18||RC2||Olivier Burri, A.Levratti||20m42.5s|
|19||WRC3||Hermann Neubauer, B.Ettel||21m25.1s|
|20||RC2||Kevin Abbring, P.Tsjoen||21m59.6s|
|21||WRC3||Cedric De Cecco, J.Humblet||24m17.1s|
|22||RGT Cup||Manu Guigou, A.Coria||29m28.4s|
|23||WRC3||Davy Vanneste, K.D’alleine||30m48.9s|
|24||RC2||Jerome Chavanne, P.Blot||31m28.2s|
|25||RGT Cup||Raphael Astier, F.Vauclare||31m35.6s|
|26||WRC3||Johannes Keferbock, I.Minor||32m05.9s|
|27||RC2||Daniel Alonso Villaron, A.L.Fernandez||35m23.3s|
|28||WRC3||Giacomo Ogliari, L.Granai||36m20.5s|
|29||WRC3||Cedric Cherain, S.Prevot||36m35.7s|
|30||RC4||Nicolas Latil, J.Degout||37m02.0s|
|31||WRC3||Tom Williams, G.Ascalone||41m08.7s|
|32||RGT Cup||Cedric Robert, M.Duval||45m41.9s|
|33||RC2||Carlo Boroli, M.Imerito||46m23.8s|
|34||RC4||Thibault Lefebvre, M.Lacruz||47m49.1s|
|35||WRC3||Miguel Diaz-Aboitiz, D.Sanjuan||50m23.2s|
|36||RC2||Pascal Eouzan, P.Eouzan||50m25.0s|
|37||RC4||Frederic Roussel, G.Dini||50m31.3s|
|38||RGT Cup||Pierre Ragues, J.Pesenti||50m54.0s|
|39||RC5||Timothy Van Parijs, K.Heyndrickx||51m01.5s|
|40||RC4||Sacha Althaus, L.Zbinden||51m58.4s|
|41||RC5||Benoit Verlinde, J.Claerhout||52m14.1s|
|42||RGT Cup||Philippe Baffoun, A.Dunand||52m41.1s|
|43||WRC2||Enrico Brazzoli, M.Barone||Movisport SRL||52m48.6s|
|44||WRC3||Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio, M.Bosi||53m58.8s|
|45||RC4||Jerome Aymard, S.Aymard||56m10.1s|
|46||RC2||Philippe Roux, C.Roux||56m35.3s|
|47||RC5||Gilles Michellier, C.Richard||58m50.2s|