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Rallye Monte-Carlo – Sunday afternoon

The reigning FIA World Rally Champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed their sixth victory in a row on Rallye Monte-Carlo at the end of a thrilling season opener which held the crowds of spectators spellbound.

 

Ogier won the rally by only 2.2 seconds ahead of Thierry Neuville, having started the final Power Stage with a fragile lead of 0.4 seconds. On the event’s final day, the Frenchman had to battle a defaulting throttle which affected the behaviour of the car. Nonetheless, he finished second on the Power Stage, 1.7 second faster than Neuville, to claim the championship’s lead on his first rally back with Citroen. It was also the manufacturer’s 100th WRC win, in the company’s 100th anniversary year.

 

Neuville fought hard in the intense battle at the front but he admitted that he definitely gave Ogier a bit of a present on Friday when he made a small mistake in SS7. The Belgian’s little consolation is that he won’t be opening the road at the next event in Sweden.

 

On the Monte-Carlo podium for the third consecutive year was Ott Tänak. The Estonian was the leader of the rally up to the end of SS3 and scored seven stage wins in total over the course of the event, beating Sébastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala in the fight for the podium.

 

Loeb, a seven-time winner on Rallye Monte-Carlo with his long-time partner Citroën, was putting his Hyundai car to the test for the first time. The Frenchman, who had just returned from the Dakar Rally in Peru, set two fastest stage times and finished fourth overall.

 

Latvala was fifth, dropping in the rankings on the final day. The Finn said he wasn’t feeling happy with his driving and the set-up of the car.

 

His new team mate Kris Meeke finished sixth in his Toyota debut after facing tyre trouble on Saturday. Nonetheless, the driver from Northern Ireland won the final Power Stage to secure five bonus points, which put him fourth in the championship.

 

Gus Greensmith from Great-Britain claimed seventh overall as well as the winner’s spot for M-Sport Ford WRT in the newly created FIA WRC 2 Pro category, one place ahead of Yoann Bonato in eighth, who took the FIA WRC 2 win. Stephane Sarrazin and Adrien Formaux completed the top 10.

 

Retirements included Esapekka Lappi, who faced mechanical problems, as well as Andreas Mikkelsen and Elfyn Evans, who both made driving mistakes.

 

Next up on the FIA Rally Championship calendar is Rally Sweden from 14 to 17 February, a classic winter event that ventures deep into the frozen and remote forests of Sweden and Norway.

 

Rallye Monte-Carlo – Final unofficial results (subject to scrutineering)

 

1

Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia

Citroen C3 WRC

3hr 21min 15.9sec

2

Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

3hr 21min 18.1sec

3

Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hr 23min 31.1sec

4

Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

3hr 23min 44.1sec

5

Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hr 23min 45.8sec

6

Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall

Toyota Yaris WRC

3hr 26min 52.1sec

7

Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson

Ford Fiesta R5

3hr 34min 20.5sec

8

Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud

Citroen C3 R5

3hr 35min 12.4sec

9

Stephane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci

Hyundai i20 R5

3hr 35min 22.7sec

10

Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul

Ford Fiesta R5

3hr 37min 19.3sec



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