Rallying-Ogier wins after last day drama in Croatia

By Thomson Reuters Apr 21, 2024 | 9:47 AM

(Reuters) – Sebastien Ogier came out on top on a dramatic final day of the Croatia Rally on Sunday with the Toyota part-timer jumping from third to first as rivals Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans both crashed.

The win, with co-driver Vincent Landais, was the eight-times world champion’s 59th victory of his career and 100th podium appearance.

Hyundai’s Neuville had been leading Evans by just 2.6 seconds but went too fast into a corner and mounted a grass bank before hitting a tree on the second of the day’s four stages, losing 25 seconds.

Evans then hit a bank and spun on the same stage, losing 20 seconds as team mate Ogier suddenly found himself 9.1 seconds clear with two stages to go.

The Frenchman held on to win by 9.7 in a Toyota one-two, with Neuville third.

“It’s been a tough weekend,” said Ogier. “I don’t think I’ve ever had so many moments in one rally but it’s nice to get the win for the team.”

Neuville banked 18 points from leading on Saturday night and retained his overall championship advantage, six points clear of Evans after four of 13 rounds.

“We had a great few days but unfortunately today didn’t go so well. At the end we’re taking important points so it’s not so bad,” said the Belgian.

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak was fourth with Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta fifth and Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen sixth with M-Sport Ford’s Gregoire Munster seventh.

Toyota extended their advantage over Hyundai in the manufacturers’ standings to seven points.

The next round is on gravel in Portugal from May 9-12.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon)