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“S*** happens” after losing WRC Sardinia victory with final stage puncture

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

The eight-time world champion appeared on course to score 61st WRC win having started the final stage with a 6.2s lead, but a puncture three kilometres from the finish handed the victory to Hyundai’s Ott Tanak by the equal-smallest margin in WRC history.

Ogier felt there was nothing he could have done differently given the extreme gravel conditions in the 7.10km Sassari test.

“That is motorsport sometimes, you have to accept that shit happens,” said Ogier. “I think we did everything we could and be happy and proud of [our] performance.

“It is hard not have the reward for it but at least I’m happy for it to go to my friend Ott as he has done a strong rally.

“There was nothing I could have done different. Unfortunately, it was very extreme conditions in the Power Stage, and I think we were doing enough of a job to stay ahead even if we knew the conditions were not suiting our car.

“But this puncture three kilometres from the end cost us the win and we have to accept it. At the end of the day, it is hard, but it is not the end of the world and there is much worse in life.

“This week we are so sorry for Ari Vatanen [1981 world champion] and his family losing Kim [Ari’s son] so my thoughts are with their family.”

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Tanak admitted the way the rally was decided was “really cruel” on Ogier having suffered a similar fate on the same stage in 2019.

Ogier tasted victory by a 0.2s margin having been involved in the WRC’s other closest-ever finish when he beat his now Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala to victory in the 2011 Jordan Rally.

After witnessing another dramatic finish, Latvala admitted it would take time to digest this latest loss by 0.2s.

“It is a disappointing feeling, I’m not lying, and it takes time to digest it,” said Latvala.

“The karma plays out. Ogier has won by 0.2s against me in Jordan and now he has lost and at the same stage Ott lost the victory in 2019 with the steering issues. This is how the karma plays sometimes.”

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