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WRC Rally Monza

Ogier: Hard to put emotional eighth WRC title into words

Sebastien Ogier says it is “hard to put into words” the joy and sadness of winning an eighth World Rally Championship title in his final season as a full-time driver.

Champions Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

The Toyota driver secured an emotional championship victory in style by winning the title deciding Rally Monza after a thrilling event long fight with teammate and rival Elfyn Evans.

Ogier’s victory sparked emotional scenes as the success brought the curtain down on a glittering full-time WRC career, while it was also the final event for co-driver Julien Ingrassia after a successful 16-year partnership.

Ingrassia shed a tear as they crossed the finish line before Ogier presented him with a crash helmet to commemorate the eighth world title and his career, before climbing on the roof of the Yaris to celebrate the championship.

While Ogier is expected to return the WRC for at least one rally next year in Monte Carlo, the 37-year-old has no regrets on his decision to step back from full-time driving in the WRC.

“It [the title] is hard to put words on this kind of day in terms of emotions, but the biggest one today is about Julien [Ingrassia],” Ogier told Motorsport.com.

“We know inside us that there is a lot of joy but there is a bit of sadness and more than a little bit actually.

“We know this is the end of this fantastic journey and Julien has been a huge part of this successful story. I told him across the finish line that I’m going to miss him.

“I had prepared his crash helmet a few rallies ago when we had this 44 point lead. I was not able to finish the title in the last rallies and in the end we couldn’t use so I had to wait in-until the last stage of the rally to use it.

“At least next year I am only doing a few rallies maybe, I have no real plans. Every good thing has an end in life and I’m not sad at any point about this decision that I have taken but it feels completely right to do this right now.

“Let’s see what the future brings to my life. I feel I need this break and time for myself and try to build some more motivation to do some more motorsport again.”

Winner and Champion Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Winner and Champion Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Ogier’s fairytale finish was almost derailed when he clipped a concrete barrier with his front right on Sunday’s first stage in Monza, and was lucky to avoid a puncture.

"Yes luck is part of the sport. I just glanced this barrier and a few millimetres in then it is an impact and it breaks the wheel and minimum it is a puncture,” he added.

“I knew it wasn’t a big impact as I almost didn’t feel it, but inside it sounded strange and I was constantly checking my dashboard to see if I have a puncture. I was quite relieved to see there was no puncture and I could carry on normally.”

Reflecting on his career, Ogier says it is impossible to pick out a favourite title from his eight championships.

“In my eyes they are all the best I cherish all of them," he said. “Sometimes I will make a classification but it is always a unique journey. I think emotionally I appreciate them even more year after year.”

Ogier will however return to the wheel of a rally car next week with the Frenchman expected to test Toyota’s new hybrid Rally1 2022 car for the first time.

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