The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team claimed a remarkable result at Rally Italia Sardegna with a one-two finish. With Sébastien Ogier finishing first and claiming his third victory from five events this season and Elfyn Evans taking second, the team has continued their momentum in the championship.
The team’s maiden Sardinia win came after a fast and reliable performance from the Toyota Yaris WRC and its drivers, who were able to overcome their disadvantageous positions at the head of the road order on Friday. Ogier was particularly impressive opening the road on Friday, ending the day in third before climbing into the rally lead on Saturday, when Evans also improved his confidence and speed to rise to second.
Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia safely managed their advantage through the final day’s four stages to clinch their fourth Sardinia victory and first since 2015.
Evans, co-driven by Scott Martin, started the final day with a strong stage win in SS17 to increase his advantage over third place, and was also fastest in SS19. In the final stage he was slowed after water entered the car in a watersplash, but the buffer he had built earlier meant his second place was secured.
With two bonus points for the fourth fastest time in the Power Stage, Ogier now leads the championship by 11 points over Evans, who is in turn 18 points ahead of the driver in third.
Taking three bonus points for the third-best time in the Power Stage was Kalle Rovanperä, who together with co-driver Jonne Halttunen had been forced to stop by a technical issue on Friday while running in second position. With the help of their additional points, Toyota now has a 49-point lead in the manufuacturers’ standings.
Three Toyota Yaris WRC crews finished inside the top four, with TGR WRC Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta repeating the personal-best finish of fourth he recorded on the previous round in Portugal to continue his recent progress. On the final day Katsuta took a steady approach to secure the result while his co-driver Dan Barritt was feeling unwell as a result of dehydration due to the heat in Sardinia. Barritt was checked and released by doctors after the finish.