The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team has achieved a magnificent championship treble at the iconic Monza circuit, clinching the Manufacturers’ title with a one-two finish at the final round as Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed their eighth Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ crowns in style with victory.
Ogier and Ingrassia went up against their team-mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in the final-round showdown at Monza and the two crews engaged in an epic battle for victory throughout the weekend, swapping the lead between them six times. They came into the final day of three tricky stages around Monza separated by just half a second – and then set identical times on the morning’s opening test. A stall for Evans in the penultimate stage ultimately decided the rally victory in the favour of Ogier, who knew a podium finish would be enough to secure the title.
The win was the fifth of the season for Ogier and Ingrassia after victories in Monte Carlo, Croatia, Sardinia, and Kenya. It was their 54th WRC win together in what was the final event of their full-time careers: Ogier will contest a part-time schedule with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in 2022 while Ingrassia steps out of the co-driver’s seat after a highly-successful career.
Evans and Martin secured the fifth Toyota one-two of the season, and finish runner-up in the championship for the second year in a row after victories in Portugal and Finland.
Alongside their teammates, Kalle Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen were key to the Manufacturers’ Championship success after claiming their first career victories in Estonia and Greece this year. At the final round, they were exemplary team players, focusing on a clean finish in ninth overall to ensure the Manufacturers’ title was secured.
This is the fifth time Toyota has won the Manufacturers’ Championship – putting it joint third on the all-time list of titles – and the second since it returned to the sport in 2017 with the Yaris WRC. This was the 26th and final victory achieved by the car in the final event of the World Rally Car era before hybrid-powered Rally1 cars are introduced in 2022.
TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta finished seventh overall with co-driver Aaron Johnston, overcoming contact in the penultimate test to set the second-fastest time in the rally-ending Power Stage after a superb job by the team’s mechanics to repair his car in just a 15-minute service.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal) “We have been working so hard to claim the Manufacturers’ Championship and the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ Championships all at the same time. I am so grateful for the team: We have such a fantastic team with great people and the best drivers in the championship. I’m really proud of all the team members and the crews. What Seb and Julien have achieved in their careers is incredible. Elfyn and Scott did fantastically well to make it an exciting battle, and a huge thank you to Kalle and Jonne for the role they played as well. In 2018 I won the Manufacturers’ title as a driver, and to do it again now as a team principal is a unique moment. This is also a brilliant way to finish this era with these cars, and to have won nine rallies this year is amazing.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1) “It’s so hard to describe these kinds of emotions. Somehow you feel empty because it’s been such an exhausting season like always, where you need to put so much into it to win the championship. But we do it for moments like this. A big thanks to all the team members: Without them, we are nothing and today we are all World Champions, so let’s celebrate this. It’s pretty remarkable what Toyota has achieved, and the team deserves it because they’ve put a lot of effort into it. The emotion is even stronger knowing it’s the end of my journey with Julien. We could never have dreamed of a better way for it to end it. We knew we still had a lot to do this weekend and that it was not over yet. We didn’t have to beat Elfyn, but we couldn’t afford to relax and then drop positions, and to win in the end is just perfect.”
Jonathan Edwards, Alcon Group Sales Director “It’s an absolute privilege for Alcon to be involved with Toyota Gazoo Racing, helping them to secure yet another Manufacturers’ title! Alcon products have a rich pedigree in the World Rally Championship but for Toyota to claim Manufacturers’, Drivers and Co-drivers titles this year really is nothing short of sensational. I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the whole team for such an impressive achievement. Long may this continue into the hybrid era starting in 2022”.