Sebastien Ogier won his seventh FIA World Rally Championship title in eight seasons with victory at ACI Rally Monza on Sunday afternoon.
The Frenchman started the final round on the back foot, but when series leader and Toyota Yaris team-mate Elfyn Evans crashed on Saturday, Sebastien Ogier took advantage to win the asphalt fixture by 13.9sec and take the crown by eight points.
Outgoing champion Ott Tanak finished second, 1.4sec ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo. The double podium was sufficient to secure back-to-back manufacturers’ titles for Hyundai Motorsport.
Takamoto Katsuta won the live TV Wolf Power Stage in a Yaris to collect five bonus points. Ott Tanak was second to claim four points, with Evans taking three in third. Esapekka Lappi took two points in fourth in a Ford Fiesta and Sebastien Ogier secured the final point in fifth.
“Oh, that was scary! I knew there were still a couple of narrow gates to pass and it would have been challenging without seeing anything,” said Sebastien Ogier, who has now won the title with three different manufacturers.
“It’s been a difficult weekend. We feel for Elfyn also today. He made a very strong season, very consistent, and we had really good fun to fight each other. I’m very happy and I feel very privileged.”
Outgoing champion Ott Tanak finished second in a Hyundai i20, 1.4sec ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo. The double podium was sufficient to secure back-to-back manufacturers’ titles for Hyundai Motorsport by five points from Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Tänak and Sordo traded places throughout Sunday’s three-stage finale with the Estonian eventually sealing the runner-up spot in the closing test.
Early leader Esapekka Lappi finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta, matching his best result of the season. The Finn was 30.7sec behind Ott Tanak and 21.6sec clear of Kalle Rovanperä’s Yaris. WRC 3 winner Andreas Mikkelsen completed the top six in a Skoda Fabia.
Oliver Solberg, WRC 3 world champion Jari Huttunen, WRC 2 title winner Mads Østberg and Pontus Tidemand completed the leaderboard.
A disappointed Evans restarted this morning after his crash and finished 26th.