Ogier keeping WRC title thoughts in check after “crazy” fight with Evans

Sebastien Ogier insists he isn’t beginning to think about lifting an eighth World Rally Championship title following a “crazy” Rally Monza fight with rival Elfyn Evans.

The Frenchman holds a slender 0.5s lead over Toyota teammate Evans heading into the final day of the 2021 season after a relentless rally long battle.

Despite coming under severe pressure from Evans, Ogier remains firmly on the box seat to win the title in what will be an emotional finish to his full-time WRC career.

Ogier holds a 17 point lead over Evans, meaning he could drop to sixth position and still come away with the title. However, Evans is poised to pounce on any slip up that could turn the title in his favour.

Reflecting on day that saw the rally lead change five times between himself and his title rival teammate, Ogier admitted he’s never known a rally lead to fluctuate so much in his glittering career.

The 37-year-old is however maintaining that his focus is not on trying to win the rally but secure the title.

“It is crazy,” Ogier told Motorsport.com when asked about the battle with Evans. “I don’t really focus on this fight [for the lead] as it would be a mistake for me but I need to focus on my performance and reach the end and reach the title, that is the priority for the weekend.

“It is very funny that the gap has been so small all of the time and so many changes with the lead, so at least the fans will be enjoying it.

“It is a nice way to finish. I know too well that it is never finished before the end, so we need to be focused in the same way tomorrow.”

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

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

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Evans echoed Ogier’s thoughts on the closeness regarding the lead battle but is refusing to believe his rival is not thinking about trying to seal the championship with a fifth rally win of the season.

The 32-year-old is also looking forward to “nice fight” to decide the outcome of the 2021 season on Sunday.

“I’ve definitely not been in a battle where the lead has changed so much,” Evans said. “It seems as though he has a couple of blinding stages and then he has one. We keep coming back to the same place it seems. It's been a nice afternoon for us and it sets up a nice fight for us tomorrow.

“Let’s say, he is not cruising to win the championship the way he is driving," he added.

The pair will contest three more stages held in the confines of the Monza grand prix circuit on Sunday to conclude the season finale.

shares
comments

Related video

WRC Monza: Ogier edges Evans to close in on eighth world title
Previous article

WRC Monza: Ogier edges Evans to close in on eighth world title

Next article

Monza WRC: Ogier survives scare as disaster strikes Evans

Monza WRC: Ogier survives scare as disaster strikes Evans
Load comments
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
1 h
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021