Six time FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier is on course to claim his seventh title after retaking the lead of ACI Rally Monza in Italy on Saturday.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC driver goes into Sunday’s final day of the season with a 17.8s lead over Hyundai Motorsports Dani Sordo and speaking following the action he said:

This was a very, very tricky day. The first loop was enjoyable actually: These mountain stages are very nice and when the conditions were fairly consistent with just a little bit of snow on top of the mountain, it was good fun. But this afternoon when the weather turned with much more rain and snow it was incredibly challenging and actually not really enjoyable to drive. It was just about surviving and trying to keep the car on the road. Where Elfyn went off, it could have happened to anybody. The grip change on this corner was just impossible to anticipate, honestly. In this moment I felt sorry for him, for sure. I would have enjoyed to fight until the end: It’s always more fun that way, and it was looking good for the team in both championships. Now I have an opportunity to clinch a seventh title tomorrow and that’s my target, and I try to finish the job tomorrow. It’s never over until it’s over.”

Championship leader Elfyn Evans was left disappointed after sliding into a snow bank and did not finish the day’s action and speaking following the action he said:

The snow really came down in the afternoon and the conditions were difficult. The first stage was going quite OK and then the stage was stopped. Then in the second stage of the loop, we were having quite an OK run. But the snow started to fall and I basically just got caught out by a surface change underneath the snow that you couldn’t see. I had it in my notes but ultimately the grip level change was far worse than I expected and there was no chance to stop for the next corner. Obviously I’m feeling massively disappointed with the position we’re in now. I’m also very sorry for the team, as it’s a big blow to our hopes for the manufacturers’ title. On the drivers’ side it’s not completely over for me: There’s a glimmer of hope and obviously we’ll keep fighting tomorrow. It’s looking very unlikely now but we won’t give up until the end.”

Kalle Rovanpera goes into the final day in fifth place and speaking following the action on Saturday he said:

It was a tricky day but I think that was the case for everybody. We had a lot of snow and slush and there were a few places that were the trickiest I’ve ever been in with a rally car. In the first stage this morning when we reached the slush section I made a mistake in one corner and we hit the bank. There was no big damage to the car, but enough for it to be a bit more tricky to drive. The afternoon was really difficult I would say. When the snowfall came the road conditions changed totally. We were a bit unlucky that the first stage of the loop was cancelled as we were setting a good time there. But it was just good that we got through it and we are here tonight. We are too far away to catch anyone in front tomorow without something happening, but I will just try to bring home as many points as we can for the team.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Team Principal Tommi Makinen commented saying:

What happened to Elfyn and Scott was a very hard moment for us. I can understand very well how they must have felt in the car; it’s very difficult to describe. Elfyn has been very good this season, and here he didn’t want to be fastest everywhere, he was just controlling it. It was crazy conditions, and the weather had changed so quickly since the cars left service. In such difficult conditions it’s hard to control the speed: You don’t whether you’re going fast enough. If you make just a very minor mistake, everything can be over. I think it was a good decision to cancel the last stage of the loop, there was so much snow that it would just be nothing to do with rallying anymore, it was more like survival. Now Seb is in the lead: There are not too many stages tomorrow and we’re confident that he can win the rally. He just needs to get to the end now, but nothing is decided until the finish.”

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