Ogier: Weird that Toyota didn’t win manufacturers’ title

2020 champion surprised Toyota missed out on a WRC title double after finishing one-two in the drivers' points


If Sébastien Ogier thinks something is a bit weird – and tells you it’s a bit weird – it’s probably worth looking into. And, to be honest, he’s right. It is a bit weird.

How is it when Toyota Gazoo Racing drivers finish one-two in the drivers’ championship, it’s the employer of the crews finishing third and fourth that takes the makes’ prize?

Let’s have a look.

Hyundai Motorsport won this year’s manufacturers’ title, beating Toyota by five points. Toyota out-scored Hyundai on four of seven rounds, but big gains made by the Korean squad in Estonia (a one-two finish with Ott Tänak and Craig Breen) and at Rally Italy (a one-two finish with Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville) helped cement a successful defence of Hyundai’s 2019 crown.


The key to that success is, of course, in the strategic driver line-ups of each team. Before we dive into those, let’s listen to what Ogier has to say.

“We are not manufacturers’ champions, but I kind of feel are manufacturers champions when Toyota drivers finish one-two in the drivers’ [championship],” he told DirtFish. “It’s still a bit weird that we didn’t win the manufacturers’, but that’s another story.

“I feel we deserved it – we fought as three drivers against five and came so close.”

Ogier’s jumped to the heart of the matter there.

Hyundai’s decision to rotate its third car between Breen, Sébastien Loeb and Sordo paid undoubted dividends in its 2020 campaign. That trio contributed 81 points or 33% of Hyundai’s 241 total. Kalle Rovanperä added just 37 points or 15% of Toyota’s tally of 236.

Put those statistics to Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo and they’re water off a duck’s back.

“I don’t make the rules,” he told DirtFish. “I am here, like I told you many times, to make the best for my employer. I am here to make sure Hyundai Motorsport wins.”

And he’s absolutely on the money there, he’s abiding by the rules while playing to his strengths. He invested in a five-strong team of drivers capable of delivering the title and achieved value for money in the shape of back-to-back world titles.

Does Toyota need to re-evaluate its strategy for 2021? Quite possibly. We’ve seen Rovanperä getting quicker and quicker through this season and the Finn’s going to be at the sharp end for much of next year. Do that and he’s likely to be scoring well and running high up in the championship classification.

In the nuanced world of the WRC, high up in the championship classification means being sacrificed on hot gravel rallies like Sardinia. Much better have a third driver popping in and out, scoring well then not at all. Like Hyundai.

Let’s see…