Briton Elfyn Evans (Toyota) finished second in Monza and is vice world champion. Spaniard Dani Sordo (Hyundai) completed the podium in Italy, ahead of Neuville.
Toyota drivers Ogier and Evans were the only two still eligible for the drivers’ world title. Both immediately made their mark on the rally and were therefore a size too big for the competition. Ogier put in a very strong performance in the mountain stages on Friday but had to leave the lead to Elfyn Evans by the end of the day who in turn outperformed the track.
On Saturday there were six classification stages, good for five position changes at the top of the classification. Ogier and Evans did not let go of each other and took turns taking the lead. Finally, Ogier finished the second day of competition in the lead with a small lead of 0.5 sec over Elfyn Evans. On Sunday morning, Ogier was given a stern warning when he hit a concrete chicane at high speed, damaging his right front tire and rim. The Frenchman took advantage of the champions luck and lost almost no time. In the ensuing stage, Evans made a mistake and stalled the engine twice. On that same stage, a startled Ogier slowed down quite a bit, but kept the lead due to Evans’ loss of time. During the powerstage, Ogier’s victory was no longer in jeopardy.
Ogier takes an eighth world title, 54 World Cup victories and 91 podium finishes. The Frenchman, who had already announced his retirement earlier in 2019 but ultimately continued to drive for two more seasons due to the global corona pandemic, will soon announce his future plans. It is generally expected that he will drive an à la carte program next year. Participating in a full championship is out of the question, according to previous statements by the Frenchman.
Ogier, Evans, Rovanperä and Katsuta were also allowed to uncork the champagne together in Monza. Thanks to their strong performance, they gave Toyota the world title among the manufacturers. The second title since the brand’s return to rallying in 2018, the fifth since the inception of the World Cup in 1973.
Thierry Neuville eventually finished fourth. The Belgian lacked grip on Friday morning, so he immediately had to chase and could never participate for the win. Saturday morning he skidded on cold tires against a guardrail. Neuville lost just under half a minute and his third place to Dani Sordo. On the final day he won all three classification stages. The Belgian finishes fourth in Monza and closes the 2021 World Cup in third.
Grégoire Munster and Louis Louka (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) finish 15th at Monza, good for fourth place in WRC3.