A climactic finale for Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia!
Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia ended their career together by taking their eighth world championship title*. This was a consecration gained with panache as they won Rally Monza, the last round of the season, after a final duel of high quality with their team-mates and rivals for the title, Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin.
Apart from notching up this 54th success, the emotions were particularly strong for the Frenchmen as their victory in the championship, their eighth in nine years, marked the climactic end to a career together spanning more than 15 years, as Julien brings to an end his career as a co-driver. Sébastien, meanwhile, remains with Toyota to participate in selected rallies next season.
"Julien and I wanted to finish on a high note and I'm happy we managed to do that! It's wonderful that we were able to end this chapter by winning our eighth title together, and showing good performance while enjoying ourselves for our last rally. We've shared so many emotional moments throughout our career and creating a new unforgettable memory is the best way to bring this magnificent adventure we have lived through together to an end."
"During the weekend I didn't have the impression that the rally was going differently from any other. Not being affected by emotions and staying focused on our rally was the best approach to attain our objective, which was to win the title. But at that moment when you cross the finish line, you understand it's the end of an adventure and that's a strange feeling. It's obviously more over the long term that I'll realise what has changed, but I do know that I've turned an important page."
"When I started rally driving I had a dream, which was to become world champion. Julien and I achieved that together in 2013 and that was already an incredible achievement. What's happened since then can be seen as a bonus, but I'm proud that we've succeeded in keeping it going. Together, we've managed to improve over time, we've progressed with the same commitment and the same attention to detail. I've always said that in rallying, we win together and Julien has been a core element of what I've managed to achieve, so I thank him very much."
"Over the years we've been lucky to meet some super people, who have accompanied us and supported us from one team to another. It's all ended with Toyota in a team of high quality which I'm happy to see rewarded with complete success this season, for the drivers, the co-drivers and also the manufacturers. Nine victories in 12 rallies speaks volumes and it's fully deserved. Elfyn and Scott gave us a superb fight right up to Monza and I know that with Kalle and Jonne they will make sure that Toyota stays ahead next season. As for me, I'm easing up and taking more time for my family after a WRC career that has been, I think, very fulfilled."
"I'm happy that we went through this final rally fully enjoying it in the car and in full attack mode, and I'm also proud that we gave a show to the spectators. We changed nothing: the aim was to win the title and we had to work 200% to get there. But in the split second that the car passed the finish line, I felt an avalanche of very intense emotions, as if the concentration and efforts of a whole career were liberated in an instant. It flooded my whole body and I couldn't hold back the tears, but it was pure joy because it's a perfect end to our career and this is the end of a chapter of my life. I've spent more than 15 years beside Seb, a huge chapter in both our lives and what's more is that it's gone by with us giving 2,000% throughout."
"A big bravo to Seb for having driven at these speeds for all these years with such precision and with such a rage to win without ever having been careless at the wheel, whatever the circumstances. He's managed to cultivate his talent and post some insane statistics. We can both be proud of the work we've accomplished and the mark we've left on our sport. When we started in WRC we inherited a rich history with the achievements of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena and we've been able to keep the series going, making sure that the French flag continues to fly right at the top of the pole."
"We've met a colossal number of people over the years since that month of December in 2005 and all of them in their own way have left their mark on us and influenced our destiny. This is the case professionally, of course, with each of our teams from the management to the mechanics, but also the federation. We've drawn on all these experiences in order to develop. And then there's the support of our nearest and dearest, our families and my precious group of friends, whom I had the wonderful surprise of seeing when I opened my door at the finish on Sunday. But in the end, I'm particularly proud that during these 16 years we've managed to get through all the trials and tribulations by supporting each other, Seb and I, in the good times and the difficult ones, like two photons crossing the WRC galaxy together!"
* Subject to validation by the FIA