Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia began the WRC season on the legendary roads of Rallye Monte-Carlo last weekend, finishing second overall after an epic start to the season.
They managed to avoid the pitfalls while fighting for victory throughout the weekend in a tight battle with their Toyota GAZOO Racing teammate Elfyn Evans and with main rival Thierry Neuville.
In their debut with the Toyota Yaris WRC, they were leading several times the rally with three stage wins and also picking up four extra bonus points in the Wolf Power Stage.
Ogier was only a few thousandths of a second off the best time, which lead to a total of twenty-two points in the championship.
“Twenty-two points for our first rally with Toyota is clearly a promising result. It bodes well for the rest of the season, both because of the good atmosphere among the whole team and because of the positive feeling I had behind the wheel. Even though we’ll have to raise our game a little in the next rallies, the performance was there and the Yaris WRC’s potential is undeniable,” Ogier said.
“The battle for the win made it a great rally to be a part of, a really close race from start to finish between three crews.
“Thierry managed to get the better of us in the end, so well done to him! As for us, we can’t deny a slight disappointment at seeing our series of victories in this legendary event come to an end, but generally the result is a very positive one to start the season with and that’s what we must take away.”
“What was lacking for me was a level of knowledge of the car that would have allowed me to let loose a little in the challenging conditions of this rally and maybe increase the risk-taking, but I’m not one to force things when I don’t feel it.“
“Don’t forget that this was our first race with this car and we don’t have a lot of experience in it yet. Also, considering Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja’s dramatic crash this weekend, that tends to strengthen my belief in my usual strategy of staying within my comfort zone and trusting my feelings.
“We’re especially pleased that they came out of that accident unhurt and we can’t wait to take up the fight again with them in the next rally.” Ogier added.