Sebastien Ogier won his eighth world rally championship in nine years on Sunday while the Frenchman’s Toyota team clinched the manufacturers’ title.
The 37-year-old won the season-ending Monza Rally in northern Italy with Welsh team mate Elfyn Evans, his only title rival, finishing as runner-up after they were separated by just half a second overnight.
Ogier, who will be going part-time with Toyota next season, lived dangerously when he clipped a concrete barrier at the Monza circuit on Sunday but escaped damage and clinched his fifth win of the season and 54th of his career
He is the second most successful driver in the sport’s history after retired nine-times world champion and compatriot Sebastien Loeb.
Nobody else in any FIA-sanctioned world championship has won as many titles as the two Frenchmen and Sunday marked the end of that era of domination as well as the end of the partnership with co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
Ogier and Evans battled for the race lead throughout the weekend before the Welshman spun in the penultimate stage with his team mate then winning by 7.3 seconds. Spaniard Dani Sordo finished third for Hyundai.
The championship ended with Ogier on 230 points to Evans’s 207 and 176 for Hyundai’s Belgian Thierry Neuville.
Toyota won the manufacturers’ battle with 522 points to Hyundai’s 463.