Ogier on cusp of 2020 WRC title with Rally Monza lead as Evans crashes out

Sebastien Ogier closed the final full day of Rally Monza on the cusp of his seventh World Rally Championship title after Elfyn Evans crashed out

Ogier on cusp of 2020 WRC title with Rally Monza lead as Evans crashes out

The opening loop of three stages began with a stage win for Ogier by 8.3 seconds, pushing his Toyota Yaris past Hyundai's overnight pacesetter Dani Sordo to the top of the leaderboard.

Sordo's priority is to defend Hyundai's slender seven-point lead in the manufacturers' championship, and he dug deep to take back five seconds on the next stage but could offer little resistance to Evans, who won the third stage of the day.

While the cars were serviced halfway through the day snow arrived in time for the first stage of the afternoon loop, which saw both M-Sport's Gus Greensmith and Hyundai's Ole Christian Veiby crash heavily at the same corner.

On the next stage, the 11th stage overall, disaster befell Evans when the points leader was left an unwilling passenger as his Yaris WRC careened off the road.

Evans and co-driver Scott Marshall leapt out and made sure to slow down the next man through - title rival Ogier - and to try to prevent any other runners from going off and damaging their stranded car.

"It's crazy, crazy conditions," Toyota team boss Tommi Makinen said. "There are no words. It's all that we want, to be champion. He handled it very well, all the time very well and he did an incredible drive. No question of that."

For his part, Evans was sanguine about potentially leaving the door open for Ogier in this year's title race, stating that he had been feeling comfortable and, if anything, not pushing hard enough early in the stages.

"You have to be there, you have to try, you're not going to win anything by sitting round at the back. I think everybody was having to take some sort of chance," he said.

"On my side, I'm really sorry for the team, to be honest, because from the manufacturers' side it was looking really good on Toyota Gazoo Racing's part with both of us moving up the order.

"Obviously now my mistake has really put a spanner in that job as well, so I'm really sorry for the team. We've had a fantastic car, a fantastic crew all year, and here as well, so I'm obviously disappointed for myself but also very sorry and disappointed for them as well."

Another big loser on the stage was M-Sport's early leader Esapekka Lappi, who had elected to take three full snow tyres in his Fiesta but did not receive a message from his team to put them on the car.

"No one told us that it was snowing," growled the Finn. "Our information was that it's just wet so I didn't have my snow tyres on. There's no point [having the right tyres] if you don't put them on."

The following stage was then cancelled after a complete whiteout, which prompted the crews to return to the circuit at Monza for the final run of the day. This was won by Sordo, who closed up to 17.8s behind Ogier who leads ahead of the final day.

With outgoing WRC champion Ott Tanak holding third overnight for Hyundai, and the second surviving Toyota of Kalle Rovanpera almost a minute in arrears in fifth behind Lappi in fourth, Evans's retirement puts Hyundai in pole position to retain the WRC manufacturers' crown.

In the WRC2 title battle, the two contenders Mads Ostberg and Pontus Tidemand hold the top two positions after Adrien Fourmaux lost minutes to a spin and a puncture. With Tidemand having to drop his worst score, Ostberg must hold on to his 30.9s advantage to take the title.

The WRC3 leaderboard is dominated by the Skodas of guest stars Andreas Mikkelsen and Oliver Solberg, who hold sixth and seventh overall after high attrition among the senior WRC class.

Jari Huttunen, third place WRC3, currently has one hand on the category's crown after his nearest rivals, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Marco Bulcacia Wilkinson, fell back with various struggles.

Junior WRC points leader Tom Kristensson heads his class by more than two-and-a-half minutes.

Three more stages remain on Sunday's schedule, all of which will be held within the confines of the Villa Reale circuit.

The final stage of the day will also see the points-scoring Power Stage for which both Hyundai's Thierry Neuville and Toyota's Elfyn Evans are expected to return and play a key role in deciding the outcome of the 2020 season.

WRC Rally Monza - Classification after Stage 13

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 RC1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Toyota 1h47m47.2s
2 RC1 Dani Sordo, C.del Barrio Hyundai 17.8s
3 RC1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Hyundai 22.1s
4 RC1 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Ford 38.2s
5 RC1 Kalle Rovanpera, J.Halttunen Toyota 1m10.1s
6 RC2 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Skoda 3m20.6s
7 RC2 Oliver Solberg, A.Johnston Skoda 3m34.9s
8 RC2 Jari Huttunen, M.Lukka Hyundai 4m16.6s
9 RC2 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen 4m39.0s
10 RC2 Emil Lindholm, M.Korhonen Skoda 5m06.6s
11 RC2 Pontus Tidemand, P.Barth Skoda 5m09.9s
12 RC2 Stephane Lefebvre, T.Dubois Citroen 5m16.3s
13 RC2 Jan Kopecky, J.Hlousek Skoda 5m50.4s
14 RC2 Kajetan Kajetanowicz, M.Szczepaniak Skoda 6m27.5s
15 RC2 Kevin Abbring, P.Tsjoen Volkswagen 6m50.7s
16 RC2 Marco Bulacia Wilkinson, M.Der Ohannesian Citroen 7m37.4s
17 RC2 Gregoire Munster, L.Louka Hyundai 7m39.7s
18 RC2 Josh McErlean, K.Williams Hyundai 8m04.7s
19 RC2 Alessandro Perico, M.Turati Skoda 8m54.7s
20 RC2 Cedric De Cecco, J.Humblet Skoda 9m07.7s
21 RC2 Maro Engel, I.Minor Skoda 10m26.2s
22 RC2 Marco Giuseppe Silva, G.Pina Volkswagen 11m14.2s
23 RC2 Mauro Miele, L.Beltrame Skoda 11m16.0s
24 RC2 Giacomo Ogliari, G.Ciucci Citroen 11m35.5s
25 RC1 Takamoto Katsuta, D.Barritt Toyota 11m44.6s
26 RC2 Stephane Richelmi, R.H.-Labourdette Volkswagen 12m06.9s
27 RC2 Andrea Spataro, G.Falzone Skoda 12m20.7s
28 RC4 Tom Kristensson, J.Sjoberg Ford 15m26.4s
29 RC2 Matteo Gamba, N.Arena Skoda 16m32.4s
30 RC2 Lorenzo Bontempelli, L.Curti Skoda 17m33.0s
31 RC2 Filippo Lorenzon, A.Budoia Skoda 17m44.2s
32 RC4 Fabrizio Zaldivar, R.Penate Ford 18m13.0s
33 RC2 Marco Gianesini, M.Bergonzi Skoda 18m20.1s
34 RC4 Ruairi Bell, D.Garrod Ford 18m20.6s
35 RGT Pierre Ragues, J.Pesenti Alpine 20m47.8s
36 RGT Andrea Mabellini, V.Lenzi Abarth 21m10.3s
37 RC2 Paolo Moricci, P.Garavaldi Skoda 21m39.8s
38 RC2 Enrico Brazzoli, M.Barone Skoda 22m14.5s
39 RC2 Yohan Rossel, B.Fulcrand Citroen 22m37.1s
40 RC2 Rachele Somaschini, G.Zanchetta Citroen 23m16.9s
41 RC2 Philippe Baffoun, N.S.-Martin Skoda 23m20.1s
42 RC2 Massimiliano Locatelli, G.Gregori Skoda 23m20.6s
43 RC2 Paul-Andre Mariani, A.Dunand Volkswagen 25m08.9s
44 RC2 Stefano Serini, M.Bevilacqua Ford 25m16.8s
45 RC3 Alex Vittalini, M.Ghilardini Citroen 25m34.9s
46 RC3 Luca Fiorenti, G.Guzzi Renault 26m26.2s
47 RGT Alberto Sassi, G.Romei Porsche 27m52.1s
48 RC2 Nikos Pavlidis, A.Harryman Skoda 28m05.2s
49 RC4 Frederic Roussel, G.Dini Peugeot 29m56.3s
50 RC3 Eugenio Lozza, A.Fiorendi Renault 31m41.8s
51 RC3 Dirkjan Schram, A.Moncada Renault 32m22.4s
52 RC4 Graziano Nember, G.Maifredini Peugeot 32m39.2s
53 RC2 Adrien Fourmaux, R.Jamoul Ford 33m15.5s
54 RC2 Marco Paccagnella, B.Bianco Skoda 34m42.2s
55 RC5 Yoan Loeffler, F.Barral Renault 35m00.4s
56 RC4 Giacomo Perego, C.Licini Peugeot 36m01.9s
57 RC4 Claudio Vona, S.d'Agostino Ford 36m43.1s
58 RGT Roberto Gobbin, A.Cervi Abarth 37m03.3s
59 RGT Petr Nesetril, J.Cernoch Porsche 38m42.3s
60 RC2 Davide Riccio, S.Rocchi Hyundai 41m10.4s
61 RC4 Carlo Covi, M.Lorigiola Peugeot 41m16.8s
62 RC4 Giuseppe Pozzoli, G.Agnese Peugeot 42m09.3s
63 RC2 Stefano Gibellini, P.Manterni Skoda 45m15.6s
64 RC2 Davide Maggi, N.Gonella Hyundai 45m31.4s
65 RC2 Marco Roncoroni, P.Brusadelli Skoda 48m45.6s
66 RC4 Sami Pajari, M.Salminen Ford 53m32.9s
67 RC2 Umberto Scandola, G.D'Amore Hyundai 53m48.7s

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Evans crashes out of Rally Monza, Ogier in line for seventh title

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Ogier , Elfyn Evans
Author Nick Garton
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