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Tom Howard

Ogier to team up with new co-driver for WRC Japan finale

The change comes just days after Ogier scored his first WRC win of the season in Rally Spain alongside Benjamin Veillas, who took over the co-driver seat this year, following the retirement of long-time navigator Julien Ingrassia at the end of 2021.

In a decision taken with the team after securing the manufacturers’ title, eight-time world champion Ogier has decided to offer an opportunity to up and coming co-driving star Landais to join him in Japan to evaluate a possible future collaboration.

Helping develop new talent into the WRC has been a long-time objective of Ogier and Ingrassia, with Landais’ promotion part of this initiative.

Landais has spent the majority of his career alongside M-Sport Ford driver Pierre-Louis Loubet. The pair competed in seven WRC events this year, scoring career best fourth place finishes in Sardinia and Greece.

While eager to see how Landais performs in Japan, Ogier was quick to praise the efforts of Veillas, who has contested five rallies alongside the outgoing world champion this season.

“Firstly I want to say thank you to Benjamin for his hard work and application during our programme of rallies this year, and it was a special moment to share our first victory together in Spain,” said Ogier.

“Now that the team has secured all three championships and the main targets for the season have been achieved, we would of course like to finish on a high at the home rally for Toyota Gazoo Racing in Japan.

“But this final round is also a chance to prepare and evaluate some things for the future and to give an opportunity to Vincent, who is a talented and motivated young co-driver.

“He has been working with us in our gravel crew and after this nice experience I am excited to compete in our first rally together and to see how it works out.”

Winners Sebastien Ogier, Benjamin Veillas, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 (Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool)

Veillas added: “The decision to give an opportunity to a young and talented co-driver for Rally Japan is therefore one that I completely understand and which I fully support.

“I would like to thank Seb and the team for their help and support this season and wish them together with Vincent the best of luck in Japan.”

Ogier’s new recruit, Landais, admitted it would be a proud moment to call notes for one of his role models in Japan.

“It will be a big honour to join Seb and the Toyota Gazoo Racing team for Rally Japan,” said Landais.

“Seb and Julien have been like role models for every French driver and co-driver, so this is a great opportunity and one that I’m very proud of.

“Julien has been helping me a lot during my career, and I already had the chance to work with Seb as part of his gravel crew in Monte Carlo this year.

“Japan will be a big challenge with a lot to learn but I will focus on doing my best as always and try to make the most of this chance. Finally I would like to thank M-Sport, Pierre-Louis Loubet and his sponsors for this season and the good results we could do together.”

This is the second co-driver change among the Rally1 field for Japan as M-Sport’s Craig Breen will welcome James Fulton into the co-driver seat, following the retirement of his experienced navigator Paul Nagle.

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