The Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC squad secured the manufacturers’ title at the Rally RACC – Rally de España with Sebastien Ogier taking a dominant victory with teammate Kalle Rovanpera finishing third. Thierry Neuville split the two Toyotas to take second place.
Ogier was never challenged on the final day of the rally, the Toyota man led the charge and obtained two stage wins from the four that were ran with the Wolf Power Stage being one those to bag extra points.
At the finish Ogier was delighted for the team in sealing the manufacturers’ title as well a taking the win himself and his co-driver Benjamin Veillas: “Benji’s first win so I am very happy for him! It’s fantastic to get the win because it was an important weekend for the team. It’s not always easy to achieve such results and this season has been bery dominant, so congratulations to Toyota Gazoo Racing.”
Despite a stage win for Sordo and Neuville on SS16 and SS17 respectively, Hyundai’s efforts wouldn’t prove enough in the end. Neuville’s performance in the first two stages however did allow him to jump ahead of Kalle Rovanpera who suffered a puncture on SS17.
Neuville commented: “I Had a good run and I was quite happy with the car balance in there. The tyres got very hot. I am relieved to be here and I think P2 is a good result. It shows that we got a bit more speed during the weekend but there is definitely something left and we’re going to work for it.”
Rovanpera wouldn’t lose too much time however and was able to retain third. The Finn said: “It was quite close in the end. There was some drain on the line which was fine to go over last year, but now it was not.”
It wasn’t just Rovanpera that struggled on that stage though, teammate Elfyn Evans and Ford driver Craig Breen both hit the same hard banking within the stage and suffered punctures of their own.
Fourth and fifth went to the Hyundai pair of Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo. Tanak couldn’t quite close the gap to Rovanpera, the Estonian just suffering from a lack of pace in the rally to properly challenge. Sordo had a great morning in his home rally, a stage win on the opener putting a smile on his face.
Evans weathered the puncture to keep sixth place but wasn’t happy with the result, the Welshman claimed there would be some homework to do before the final round in Japan.
One more round is left of the 2022 World Rally Championship season, Japan is next for the first time in twelve years after a delay as well due to the COVID pandemic.
Final top 6
- Ogier 2hr 44min 43.9s
- Neuville +16.4s
- Rovanpera +34.5s
- Tanak +44.0s
- Sordo +1min 16.5s
- Evans +1min 51.1s