Oct 7 (Reuters) – Seven instances world champion Sebastien Ogier will proceed to race for Toyota in chosen rallies subsequent 12 months, with Finland’s Esapekka Lappi stepping up for these rounds the Frenchman misses.
Ogier, 37, is ending his full-time world rally championship profession on the finish of 2021, a season that appears more likely to carry him an eighth title in 9 years, when co-driver Julien Ingrassia will retire.
“I’m looking forward to having more time with my family after this year, but at the same time I’m very happy to remain with Toyota…and having the chance to compete in some rallies next year,” mentioned Ogier in a staff assertion on Thursday.
“I’m very thankful to the team for giving me this opportunity to keep doing on a partial basis what I love to do.
“The schedule of occasions just isn’t clear but, however I’ll do my finest to assist the staff within the producers’ championship and to develop the automobile.”
Toyota said Welshman Elfyn Evans, 32, and Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera, 21, had signed fresh contracts and would contest all 13 championship rounds in what will be a new hybrid era for the sport.
Benjamin Veillas, who has worked with Ogier in testing, will replace Ingrassia.
Lappi drove a privately entered Toyota in last weekend’s Finland Rally. He previously raced for the works team in 2017, before joining Citroen and then M-Sport Ford.
“I consider he’s the right driver to share the seat with Seb, to assist us within the championship but additionally be there to struggle for victories himself,” said Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala.