Sébastien Ogier and Toyota Gazoo Racing get their 2021 WRC campaign off to a winning start

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Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia take victory in the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC)
Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia take victory in the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC)

• Sébastian Ogier won the Monte Carlo rally for a record eighth time.

• This is the fourth Monte Carlo win in Toyota's history.

• Toyota Gazoo Racing had a strong final result.

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Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia have won the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo for a record eighth time, leading team mates Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin in a fantastic one-two finish for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team on the opening round of the 2021 season. Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen finished fourth to complete an amazing weekend for the team.

The victory is also the 50th for Ogier and Ingrassia in the FIA World Rally Championship, becoming only the second competitors to reach the landmark. This is the first time that the team has won the WRC's most prestigious event with its Toyota Yaris WRC, having made the podium every year since its debut in 2017. It is the fourth Rallye Monte-Carlo win in Toyota's history, coming on the 30th anniversary of its maiden victory in 1991.

Rallye Monte-Carlo lived up to its reputation as the most demanding event on the WRC calendar with special challenges for this year's edition. A modified schedule to follow coronavirus restrictions in France meant that some stages took place before dawn complete with ice and snow. WRC teams also had to get to grips with tyres from the new sole supplier Pirelli on an event where tyre choice is always critical to the outcome.

Early advantage

The Toyota team led the rally from its third stage early on Friday morning, with Rovanperä, Ogier and then Evans all taking turns in the lead over the rally's longest day. Ogier reclaimed the lead with a storming stage win on Saturday's first test on his home event. He took a 13-second advantage over Evans into the final day, when he won three of the four stages - including the rally-ending Power Stage - to begin the defence of his title in the perfect way.

With second place, Evans also makes a strong start to his championship campaign, while Rovanperä begins his second season at rallying's highest level - having fought for the podium on such a demanding event. Tyre damage on Sunday's first stage contributed to Rovanperä missing out on the top three, but he did finish with the second-fastest time in the Power Stage.

With Evans third quickest, the team locked out the top three positions on the Power Stage, giving bonus points towards the manufacturers' championship. This, combined with the one-two finish in the rally, means the team takes maximum points from the opening round - a dream start for new Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala as he looks to build upon the work of his predecessor Tommi Mäkinen.

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta made it four Yaris WRC drivers in the top six, as he completed Rallye Monte-Carlo for the second year in a row and scored his best WRC result so far in sixth place.

toyota gazoo razing,Sebastien Ogier,rally,wrc,mont
Sébastien Ogier competing in the opening round of the 2021 World Rally Championship (WRC) in Monte Carlo

Compiled by: Charlen Raymond

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