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Wed 26 Jan 2022

Ogier’s accolade for Monte winner Loeb

Sébastien Ogier paid tribute to his countryman and rival Sébastien Loeb after the M-Sport Ford driver’s victory drew them level at the top of Rallye Monte-Carlo’s roll of honour.

Loeb’s success on Sunday means both have eight victories in the French Alps. Ogier put aside his own frustrations at dropping to second place after a penultimate stage puncture aboard his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 to compliment his rival.

“Of course,” said the reigning world champion, “I am disappointed. That’s the emotion straight away. And there is frustration also. But congrats to Séb and to Isabelle [Galmiche, co-driver].

“They have done a remarkable rally and performance to win this rally. It’s been a good fight, I really enjoyed the fight for the whole weekend. I think this was one the fans could really enjoy – both of us, Séb and me – we felt that support this weekend. It’s a good one for the sport.

“And I am happy for what we did. Like I said, we can keep the head high and keep smiling because the performance from the team and from Benjamin [new co-driver Veillas] and from me was good and strong.”

Ogier and Ford Puma driver Loeb monopolised the top of the round one leaderboard, ensuring a French name remained out front from start to finish.

The lead changed hands between the pair on three occasions. They were so close through Saturday’s third leg that they were tied coming out of the first run at the Saint-Jeannet to Malijai test.

After stepping back from full-time driving at the end of last season, Ogier is tackling a part-programme his year with Toyota Gazoo Racing. He will miss the next two WRC rounds in Sweden and Croatia but is eyeing a return at the opening gravel fixture in Portugal in May.

• Ogier has been awarded the Palme d’Or by the 2022 Festival Automobile International in France in recognition of his career achievements. Other drivers honoured by the prestigious industry festival include Loeb (2012), Lewis Hamilton (2009), Michael Schumacher (2003) and Alain Prost (1997).

Video: The untold story of Loeb's Monte-Carlo win
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