It was a nail-biting championship decider at Rally Monza, with as many as four drivers in the running coming into last week. But in the end, it was Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia who came up on top, winning the event to take their seventh World Rally Championships with Toyota.

Battling treacherous rain and snow, Ogier kept his cool, taking the lead on Saturday as two of his main title rivals either crashed out or retired. First, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville clouted the concrete barrier on one of the chicanes on SS4 on Friday, damaging his right front suspension. The Belgian then drowned the engine of his i20 Coupe WRC through a water crossing, dashing his hopes.

Despite Ogier becoming the fastest man the next day, teammate and championship leader Elfyn Evans was still in the hunt – the Welshman only needed to finished fourth to win his first title. But disaster struck on SS11, as he approached a corner too fast in his Yaris WRC and slid off the road. In a show of sportsmanship, Evans cautioned the approaching Ogier, who nearly crashed himself.

With the Frenchman all set to win the rally, the stage was set for the final Power Stage yesterday, in which Evans was able to restart and, with the points on offer, was still within a shout of the title. It was a less than optimal performance, however, as he stalled twice to finish third behind teammate Takamoto Katsuta and Hyundai’s 2019 champion Ott Tänak.

Ogier had a late scare when his wipers briefly stopped working, but he hung on to finish the stage, take the overall victory and clinch his seventh championship. He has now won titles with three different manufacturers, having also secured them with Volkswagen and Ford.

As for the manufacturers’ championship, Hyundai’s second- and third-place finishes with Tänak and Dani Sordo respectively – as well as five crucial Power Stage points – allowed the Korean carmaker to beat out Toyota and take its second straight title.