Jun 03, 2024 11:16 JST

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and Ogier denied in dramatic finish

Toyota City, Japan, June 3, 2024 - (JCN Newswire) - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team and Sébastien Ogier looked set to secure a third consecutive victory together at Rally Italia Sardegna before late drama in the final few kilometres of the event meant they missed out by the narrowest of margins.

Car 17 (Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais)Car 17 (Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais)

Ogier was involved in a close battle for the lead for most of the event, and while a strong Saturday afternoon enabled him to lead into the final day, competition remained intense on Sunday and just 6.2 seconds separated him and rival Ott Tänak going into the deciding Power Stage. Still, Ogier looked to be doing enough to secure victory until he began losing air from a tyre over the rough final section of stage.

It meant that he and co-driver Vincent Landais ultimately missed out by just 0.2s in a finish that equals the closest ever in FIA World Rally Championship history – coincidentally set by Ogier when he beat his now-Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala by the same margin in Jordan in 2011. Ogier still climbs to fourth place in the drivers’ championship, only 30 points from the lead despite contesting only four of the six rounds held so far.

Elfyn Evans has also reduced his gap to the championship leader to 18 points after finishing fourth overall with co-driver Scott Martin. Following a challenging start on Friday, Evans remained consistent to climb up into the top four by the end of Saturday and carried improved pace into the final day to take third in both the Super Sunday classification and the Power Stage, netting 18 points in total.

Takamoto Katsuta was running in third position overall on Saturday afternoon before a transmission-related issue forced he and co-driver Aaron Johnston to stop. They restarted on Sunday and set the fifth-best time in the Power Stage.

Following its maiden WRC2 victory in Portugal, the GR Yaris Rally2 claimed a second consecutive win on rough gravel roads. Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen claimed a commanding triumph in their Printsport-run car while finishing in sixth position overall. Portugal class winners Jan Solans and Rodrigo Sanjuán made it a double podium in third for Teo Martín Motorsport.


Akio Toyoda (TGR-WRT Chairman)

“The surface in Sardinia is very demanding, and it always gives challenges to our team and cars. TGR has won Sardinia only once so far when Seb got the victory in 2021. Seb and Vincent were doing really well on this harsh and demanding event, but they missed out at the very last moment on the Power Stage. The gap of 0.2 seconds is so small and disappointing, but this is sport. Our team all hate to lose. We will turn this frustration into strength and aim for the next victory.

P.S. to OttI was on-site in Rally Sardinia 2019 and following your performance. You made up for the disappointment of that Power Stage this time. Congratulations!”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)

“We are of course very disappointed to miss out on the victory in this way. This final stage in Sardinia has been very dramatic in the past and unfortunately, it’s not the first time that we have experienced late drama here, because it reminds us of what happened back in 2019 when we were leading with Ott until the last stage. This event has not always been kind to us, but it was looking very good for Seb and we thought we could take another victory together here. The only positive is that it didn’t affect the points so much for us. A moment like this can be difficult to digest, and we hate to lose, but we also never lose our fighting spirit and we will come back to fight again on the next event in Poland.”

Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)

“It’s been a very difficult weekend for us but today was a bit better. I would say the feeling was definitely improved and I think the times and the points that we got from the day showed that. Still, it’s clear looking at the weekend overall that we still have a lot of work to do to improve in rallies with conditions like this one. The good news is that the characteristics now change to something quite different for the next three rallies. We know the car can be strong on fast rallies like those and it will be important to prepare as best we can and try to find confidence early.”

Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 17)

“We knew it could be tough today with some stages that are very rough and maybe not the most suited to us. Still, I think we were doing a good enough job to secure the win, but unfortunately we started to lose tyre pressure three kilometres from the end. The conditions were very extreme in this Power Stage, even worse than we have seen there before, and I don’t think there was much that I could have done differently. It’s something that’s never easy to take, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really change anything in terms of the overall points for the team. I think I can still be happy with the weekend I’ve done, and sometimes motorsport just doesn’t go your way. We will come back and try to keep up this level of performance we’ve had.”

Takamoto Katsuta (Driver car 18)

“Today my target was to get some points. We knew it would be difficult with our starting position, and the first stage was not good because we had a lot of dust from the car in front and could not see so much. We took some points but of course I wanted more. Things were working well earlier in the rally, everything was under control and then unfortunately we had the technical issue. But it was a demanding rally for the cars and sometimes things like this can happen: I just need to accept it and move forward to the next rally.”


1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) 3h06m05.6s
2 Sébastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +0.2s
3 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +2m25.8s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +2m37.8s
5 Grégoire Munster/Louis Louka (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +6m42.9s
6 Sami Pajari/Enni Mälkönen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +7m13.4s
7 Yohan Rossel/Benjamin Boulloud (Citroën C3 Rally2) +7m45.7s
8 Jan Solans/Rodrigo Sanjuán (Toyota GR Yaris Rally2) +7m52.7s
9 Martin Prokop/Michal Ernst (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m05.4s
10 Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (Škoda Fabia RS Rally2) +10m09.3s
35 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +41m28.1s

(Results as of 16:00 on Sunday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)

2024 FIA World Rally Championship for drivers after round 6:
1 Thierry Neuville 122 points
2 Ott Tänak 104
3 Elfyn Evans 104
4 Sébastien Ogier 92
5 Adrien Fourmaux 74
6 Takamoto Katsuta 52
7 Kalle Rovanperä 36
8 Dani Sordo 27
9 Esapekka Lappi 23
10 Grégoire Munster 16

2024 FIA World Rally Championship for manufacturers after round 6:
1 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team 269 points
2 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team 256
3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 131

What's next?

Rally Poland (June 27-30) returns to the WRC for the first time since 2017, offering fast stages on soft and sandy roads around Mikołajki in the Masurian lake district in the north-east of the country.

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation
Sectors: Automotive

Copyright ©2024 JCN Newswire. All rights reserved. A division of Japan Corporate News Network.

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