Outgoing World Rally champion Sébastien Ogier has confirmed he will complete the rest of the 2022 season, in turn bringing Esapekka Lappi’s World Rally Championship season to an end.
Ogier, who has stepped back to a part-time campaign this term with Toyota, had already been entered for Rally New Zealand next week – his first WRC start since June’s Safari Rally Kenya – and was always understood to be down to contest Toyota’s home rally in Japan at the end of the year.
But he has now confirmed he will also contest Rally Spain in the middle of October, an event Ogier has won three times in the past.
“As you know I’m very excited to go to New Zealand, but the news is I will also compete Rally Spain and Japan, so will finish the last three events of the championship,” Ogier said, fresh from testing a GR Yaris Rally1 at Toyota’s permanent base in Finland.
“I’m really excited for this new challenge and looking forward to see you.”
The news means Ogier will contest six rounds of the 13-event season. So far his best result was second on the Monte Carlo Rally.
While it also confirms that Lappi, who competes in Ogier’s place when he’s absent, won’t enter any further rounds this season, he is understood to be in a strong position for a contract extension into 2023.
Across his seven rallies, Lappi has podiumed three times (Sweden, Finland and Ypres) and led Rally Italy as well.
Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala has previously told DirtFish he would like to retain his same lineup of drivers for next year, and Lappi believes he has done all he can to deserve another season with Toyota.
“I think I’ve done what I could on the last rallies, let’s say,” he told DirtFish after Acropolis Rally Greece.
“I’ve done exactly what I was hired for so I can be sort of happy and satisfied with what we’ve done.”