Sebastien Ogier made his World Rally Championship debut in 2008
Salou (Spain) (AFP) - Eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier claimed his 55th career victory at the Rally of Catalunya on Sunday as this season’s overall winner Kalle Rovanpera finished third.
Frenchman Ogier, 38, who won the last of his drivers’ championships a year ago, has chosen to compete in just five of this season’s 13 rallies.
He edged Belgian Thierry Neuville by 16.4sec. Finn Rovanpera, who won the world title earlier this month in New Zealand, was 34.5sec slower.
Ogier, supported by co-driver Benjamin Veillas, is still well off compatriot Sebastien Loeb’s record of 80 wins.
The combined performances of Ogier and Rovanpera helped Toyota to the manufacturers’ title before the final rally of the season in Japan which starts on November 10.
“It’s Benji’s first win so I am very happy for him,” Ogier said.
“It’s fantastic to get this win because it was an important weekend for the team.
“It’s not always easy to achieve such results and this season has been very dominant, so congratulations to Toyota.”
Estonian driver Ott Tanak and Hyundai will part ways at the end of the year, it was announced.
“I feel that I am at a stage of my career where I need to embark on a new challenge,” Tanak said in a team statement.
The 2019 world champion is second to Rovanpera in this season’s standings.
1. Sebastien Ogier-Benjamin Veillas (FRA/Toyota) 2 hr 44 min 43 sec, 2. Thierry Neuville-Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL/Hyundai) at 16.4, 3. Kalle Rovanpera-Jonne Halttunen (FIN/Toyota) at 34.5, 4. Ott Tanak-Martin Jarveoja (EST/Hyundai) at 44.0, 5. Dani Sordo-Candido Carrera (ESP/Hyundai) at 1:16.5, 6. Elfyn Evans-Scott Martin (GBR/Toyota) at 1:51.1, 7. Takamoto Katsuta-Aaron Johnston (JPN-IRL/Toyota) at 2:19.1, 8. Adrien Fourmaux-Alexandre Coria (FRA/M-Sport Ford) at 2:38.4, 9. Craig Breen-Paul Nagle (IRL/M-Sport Ford) at 2:43.0, 10. Pierre-Louis Loubet-Vincent Landais (FRA/M-Sport Ford) at 3:25.1, 11. Teemu Suninen-Mikko Markkula (FIN/Hyundai) at 9:45.7
Rovanpera (SS1, SS2, SS6, SS7), Ogier (SS3, SS5, SS8, SS10, SS12, SS13, SS18, SS19), Neuville (SS4, SS9, SS17), Sordo (SS14, SS16), Tanak (SS15)
Drivers’ championship standings
1. Kalle Rovanpera (FIN/Toyota) 255 points - champion, 2. Ott Tanak (EST/Hyundai) 187 3. Thierry Neuville (BEL/Hyundai) 166, 4. Elfyn Evans (GBR/Toyota) 124, 5. Takamoto Katsuta (JPN/Toyota) 106, 6. Sebastien Ogier (FRA/Toyota) 85, 7. Craig Breen (IRL/Ford) 79, 8. Dani Sordo (ESP/Hyundai) 60, 9. Esapekka Lappi (FIN/Toyota) 58, 10. Gus Greensmith (GBR/Ford) 36, 11. Sebastien Loeb (FRA/Ford) 35, 12. Oliver Solberg (SWE/Hyundai) 33, 13. Pierre-Louis Loubet (FRA/Ford) 31