Outpaced by Elfyn Evans, Sébastien Ogier is currently unable to become 2021 world champion on the Catalan tarmac.
It is the major stake of this rally of Spain, fully contested on asphalt, from October 15 to 17. The possibility of a new title of world champion for Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia (Toyota), in the penultimate round of the season. However, before the stage on Saturday, the two Frenchmen are virtually in no position to win an eighth coronation. Indeed, after six specials, the n ° 1 Toyota Yaris WRC occupies third place in the general classification, relegated to 18.7 seconds behind its sister, n ° 33 driven by Welshman Elfyn Evans.
Latvala deciphers its pilots
Friday night, when the two Toyotas arrive at the service park after dark, Jari-Matti Latvala takes care to salute Evans’ performance, recalling the brilliant pace of his most recent victory in Finland. In the process, the director of Toyota Gazoo Racing says Ogier should qualify his performance halfway between a good and a bad day. Indeed, the loquacious Finn knows his driver well, who is also his former teammate from the Volkswagen era. ” It’s not a bad day, but I always fought with the car to find the right setting without really succeeding, explains the seven-time world champion. I was too slow, I didn’t have enough confidence in the car to push as hard as possible. “
Big fear for Evans
For his part, Elfyn Evans, never a winner in Spain, achieved the feat of establishing a better time than the Gapençais in each of the first six stages of the rally. However, shortly after the start of SS5, the Welshman made a huge fright when going into a big slide against a sidewalk : “It was quite a heat! I got caught in the gravel and the car took off. Of course, I was then really on hold at other places like this. We had a bit of trouble in the gravel. “
The rule of six for Ogier
On this rally in Spain, the equation is simple: to be officially crowned, Sébastien Ogier must score at least six points more than Elfyn Evans on arrival, to complete his current lead of 24 units over the Welshman. Otherwise, the world title would be played in a little over a month, from November 19 to 21, during the final round at Monza, already decisive in 2020. Indeed, a maximum of 30 points would remain to be distributed for the driver who would achieve a full card, in this case the addition of the 25 points of the final victory and the 5 points rewarding the best time of the Power Stage, the ultimate special of the event.
Virtually Sacred Toyota
For now, by evolving behind Elfyn Evans, Sébastien Ogier therefore has no possibility of validating his coronation, even in case of 5-0 in Power Stage against his rival. To add to the already great suspense, the duel between the Toyota is currently refereed by Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), leading the race just seven tenths of a second ahead of Elfyn Evans. Not to mention that the local Dani Sordo (Hyundai) could come and play the spoilsport, sticking 5.4 seconds behind Sébastien Ogier. As the two Toyota drivers fight for the title, the Japanese automaker is virtually sacred among manufacturers with a total of 57 points ahead of Hyundai.
Photos : Toyota Gazoo Racing
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