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Mon 25 Apr 2022

Ogier back in Toyota’s line-up for Portugal

Sébastien Ogier will renew battle with arch-rival Sébastien Loeb at next month’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May).

Toyota Gazoo Racing today (25 April) confirmed the eight-time world champion will replace Esapekka Lappi in a GR Yaris for the first gravel fixture of the FIA World Rally Championship’s new hybrid-powered Rally1 era.

Ogier and Lappi are sharing a car in 2022 after the Frenchman decided to step back from a full-time WRC programme after sealing his eighth crown in nine years last season.

He drove in January’s season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo and finished second to Loeb, who grabbed a thrilling victory from the under the nose of his old foe.

Ogier led his fellow countryman by almost half a minute heading into the penultimate speed test of the four-day event in the French Alps. But when Ogier limped to the finish with a front left puncture, Loeb reclaimed a lead he had conceded the previous day.

He stayed calm through the final test to seal his eighth Monte-Carlo success in a Ford Puma, becoming the oldest driver to win a WRC round at 47.

If it’s dry, Ogier will have a first-leg advantage in Portugal. He will be eighth in the start order on roads that become progressively cleaner and faster with the passage of every car as sand and gravel is cleared from the surface.  

Loeb, who was named in M-Sport Ford’s line up last week, will start fourth.   

Toyota Gazoo Racing Vodafone Rally de Portugal line-up