WRC: Ogier wins fourth straight in Monte Carlo

2017-01-22 18:18:26
http://www.racer.com/component/flexicontent/502-rally/137802-wrc-ogier-wins-fourth-straight-in-monte-carlo?Itemid=1
Date:
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Sebastien Ogier held station on the fourth and final day of Rallye Monte-Carlo to claim victory in his first rally since changing to the M-Sport team with co-driver Julien Ingrassia.

The four-time FIA World Rally Champion and local hero managed the tricky conditions through the final day, with unpredictable weather forcing difficult decisions on tire choice. The Frenchman was cautious throughout the day's three stages and took his fourth consecutive Monte win, fifth in total, and the first for an M-Sport built WRC car since Rally Great Britain in over four years.

Behind him, the drama of the first event of the FIA World Rally Championship's new era continued.

Ogier's teammate Ott Tanak, who began the day in second place, suffered problems on the first stage, reporting that he was down to just two cylinders by the end of SS14. He was late into SS15 by six minutes, before losing over a minute on stage too. After his time penalty, the Estonian had dropped to third behind the Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala by 34.8 seconds.

There was ultimately only one stage remaining after SS15, as the penultimate stage was canceled for safety reasons due to too many spectators. Tanak had recovered some power by the start of the Power Stage and drove spectacularly in the ever-worsening snowfall and icy roads. He finished with a massive slide out of the final corner of the rally to hold off a fast-finishing Dani Sordo in the lead Hyundai i20 Coupe, who picked up his first stage win of the event.

Jari-Matti Latvala delivered Toyota a podium on the manufacturer's return to the WRC from a 17-year hiatus. He inherited second after Tanak's earlier woes, and managed the Yaris WRC on the treacherous roads to hold the position to the end.

It was a successful rally for all of the former Volkswagen drivers, with Andreas Mikkelsen taking the WRC 2 category win for Skoda by three minutes – and finishing an impressive seventh outright. The FIA WRC 3 Championship was won by Raphael Astier in his Peugeot 208.

In the Power Stage, the early runners made the most of their much better conditions before the snow started falling heavily. Long-time rally leader Thierry Neuville took the stage win by an impressive 30 seconds and collects five points towards the Drivers' Championship, some consolation after such a fine run from the outset. With points available for the top five crews this year, Stephane Lefebvre in the new Citroen C3 WRC picked up points ahead of Juho Hanninen, Eflyn Evans and Dani Sordo.

The second round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes the contenders to the only true winter event of the season, Rally Sweden on Feb. 9-12.

RESULTS:

1.   Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia

Ford Fiesta WRC

4hr 00min 03.6sec

2.   Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila

Toyota Yaris WRC

4hr 02min 18.6sec

3.   Ott Tanak/ Martin Jarveoja

Ford Fiesta WRC

4hr 03min 01.4sec

4.   Dani Sordo/Marc Marti

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

4hr 03min 39.4sec

5.   Craig Breen/Scott Martin

Citroën DS3 WRC

4hr 03min 51.4sec

6.   Elfyn Evans/ Daniel Barritt

Ford Fiesta WRC

4hr 06min 48.6sec

7.   Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger

Škoda Fabia R5

4hr 09min 36.3sec

8.   Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler

Škoda Fabia R5

4hr 13min 01.7sec

9.  Stephane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau

Citroën C3 WRC

4hr 14min 47.4sec

10.   Bryan Bouffier/Denis Giraudet

Ford Fiesta R5

4hr 16min 13.0sec

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