MONACO (AP) – French driver Sebastien Ogier won the Monte Carlo Rally for the eighth time on Sunday, breaking the record he shared with compatriot Sebastien Loeb.
It was the seven-time world champion’s 50th victory to start on the right foot in what will be his last full season.RELATED
The Toyota Yaris driver edged his team rival Elfyn Evans by 32.6 seconds. Belgian Thierry Neuville completed the podium by entering 1: 13.5 behind Ogier.
Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia climbed on top of the car to celebrate.
“It is the rally that I have won the most times. It’s always special to win here, ”said the 37-year-old. “It is the rally that made me dream since I was little.”
Ogier won the first stage on Sunday by competing in icy conditions, extending his lead over Evans to 21 seconds.
Although the Welshman managed to cut a second on the next stage – won by Hyundai’s Neuville – Ogier dominated on the third stage of the day to lead by 28 seconds at the start of the final stage.
And he completed the victory with authority, as Toyota celebrated its first Monte Carlo triumph since 1998.
In total, the pilots covered 258 kilometers (160 miles) in 14 stages in an abbreviated edition of the race, which was held without an audience on the side of the road due to the coronavirus.
Last year, Neuville beat Ogier by just 2.2 seconds, who won all six previous editions after winning for the first time in 2009.
Loeb, nine times world champion, was consecrated seven times in Monte Carlo between 2003-13.
The next round on the 12-race calendar will be the Arctic Rally in Finland, starting on February 26.