Rally Monza: Day 2
Ogier and Evans neck-and-neck into the final day for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team duo Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans go into the final day of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship season at Rally Monza separated by just 0.5 seconds as they compete with one another to claim the drivers’ title in a thrilling conclusion to the season.
Returning to the foothills of the Italian Alps for the Saturday morning loop, the two contenders swapped the rally lead in each of the first three stages. After winning three of the four stages, Ogier returned to the Monza circuit at lunchtime with a lead of 5.2 seconds. Evans then immediately overturned his team-mate’s advantage by winning the first of the afternoon’s two tests around the circuit, only for Ogier to fight back with a quicker time in the last stage.
Having come to Monza with a 17-point lead in the championship, Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia remain on target to win their eighth titles in the final event of their full-time WRC careers together: A podium finish would be enough for them to win the championship even if Evans and co-driver Scott Martin were to claim victory and maximum points on the final day.
The team is also well on course to clinch the manufacturers’ championship. Kalle Rovanperä has remained focused on a clean run through the event and sits ninth overall – in position to bank points for the team if required. TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta is still sixth overall after setting strong times in both the mountain and circuit stages during the day.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“It has been an incredible fight between Seb and Elfyn today. On one stage Seb was faster, and then on the next one Elfyn was faster. It’s great to see them driving for the championship and at the same time driving for the victory: This is the best possible thing for the sport. From my side I’m also hoping we get the manufacturers’ title secured, but Kalle is doing a great job to focus on this and that’s allowing the other two to have this amazing battle at the front.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“It’s been super close today between Elfyn and me, with so many swaps for the lead. It’s definitely exciting for the fans. We had a good loop this morning. Those were the last proper stages with this generation of car and I really enjoyed it. Generally on the track I’ve been taking less risks and losing a bit of time, but tonight I managed to drive cleaner, and a slightly different tyre choice maybe helped with the traction on the gravel. Tomorrow I need to keep my focus on the title; if we can win the rally too it will be the cherry on the cake.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“The morning loop was enjoyable but Seb was very strong again in the mountains. I struggled on the first stages both times through, had a good run on the other stage the first time through but I’d lost the tyres a bit by the end of the second pass. I was a bit disappointed to give away that time, but we got it back again in the first one at the circuit this afternoon. Then in the dark I was too careful in a few places where the visibility was quite difficult. But it’s set up very nicely for tomorrow and we’ll keep fighting.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“This morning the conditions were really nice and the stages were much cleaner than yesterday, so I could be a bit faster in some sections without having to take any risks and just enjoy the driving the car on those roads. The circuit stages were nice and enjoyable too, even though we were not pushing much. It’s important for the team to do the job that we’re doing, and tomorrow we just need to finish it off.”
End of day two (Saturday):
1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h13m27.2s
2 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +0.5s
3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +27.4s
4 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +46.6s
5 Oliver Solberg/Elliott Edmondson (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m21.2s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m38.8s
7 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m17.1s
8 Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m24.8s
9 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3m39.1s
10 Andrea Crugnola/Pietro Ometto (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) +8m07.1s
(Results as of 18:30 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The final day of the rally is based solely at Monza. The day begins with a repeat of the ‘Grand Prix’ test already run on Friday evening, and this is followed by two passes of the Seraglio stage – the second forming the rally-closing Power Stage with bonus championship points on offer.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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