Six-time world rally champion Ogier switches to Toyota

Paris (AFP) –


Six-time world rally champion Sebastien Ogier has joined Toyota on a two-year deal, the Japanese team announced on Wednesday.

Experienced Welshman Elfyn Evans and 19-year-old Kalle Rovanpera from Finland have also joined Toyota for 2020.

"I'm really pleased with the driver line-up we have been able to put together for next season," said team principal Tommi Makinen.

"I believe it provides us with a great balance in our team as we target more championship trophies next year and in the future."

It marks a new challenge for the 35-year-old Ogier whose run of championship success was ended this year by the Estonian Ott Tanak who has left Toyota to drive for Hyundai in 2020.

"Very excited to take up a new challenge with @TGR_WRC! Our target is clear: we want to adapt quickly, perform as soon as possible and try to win back the #WRC title," the Frenchman tweeted.

Ogier returned to Citroen at the start of last season but the French team struggled for reliability. Last week, after Ogier said he would leave the French constructor announced it was withdrawing from the World Rally Championship "due to the absence of a first-class driver available for 2020 season."

Ogier will again be partnered by his regular co-driver Julien Ingrassia.

"We know how strong Sebastien is and we're all looking forward to working with him and Julien," said Makinen.

"I think that being able to attract a driver with his record says a lot about what we have achieved in such a short space of time with this team."

Ogier won the title from 2013-2016 with Volkswagen before winning the next two years with M-Sport Ford.