E t was another difficult Monte Carlo Rally. Sometimes the drivers found dry asphalt. Sometimes wet. Sometimes snow-covered or icy sections in the French Maritime Alps. The winner was an old friend: Sébastien Ogier. The five-time title holder won the season opener for the fifth time in a row. And for the sixth time the Monte Carlo Rally ever.
Ogier's spiners go unpunished
Even Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia in their Ford Fiesta WRC did not make it through the 17 special stages or 394.74 without any problems Kilometre. Ogier slipped in a downhill hairpin on snow. He turned on the wet track and got stuck with the right side of the vehicle in a ditch. Fans pushed the stranded fiesta. But the competition did not accept the two offers from the world champion. Because she mostly messed up herself.
That is why Ogier dominated the season opener from the first special stage and scored the full 25 points for the first win of the season at the finish. There is also one point for fifth place in the power stage. “I don't think I've ever had such a problem with my tire choice before. Still winning in the end is incredible. I think every driver made a mistake somewhere this weekend - we did too. It was practically impossible to drive perfectly. Fortunately, we only made one minor mistake. When we got a sufficient head start, all we had to do was try to manage it. Even if easier said than done. We couldn't start the new season better. The competition is more intense than ever before, which is why it is so important, 'said Ogier.
His team boss Malcom Wilson got it right to the point. “In terms of rally strategy, comesreally nobody can get close to these two. So it's hardly surprising to me that Sébastien and Julien have now won this event for the fifth time in a row. ”Defending champion M-Sport is already leading the team standings again after the tailor-made start. Ogier and Elfyn Evans earned 33 points for the English troops.
Toyota with double podium
Toyota has collected as many in Monte Carlo. Newcomer and ex-Ogier team-mate Ott Tänak brought his Yaris home in second place. The gap to the winner was 58.3 seconds. Another 54 seconds later, Jari-Matti Latvala saw the checkered flag in the second Toyota. A successful start for the team led by Tommi Mäkinen.
For Citroën and Hyundai, however, the first rally of the new season did not go according to plan. Although Kris Meeke in the Citroën C3 WRC won the Power Stage and took fourth place overall. Thierry Neuville posted a top five result in the best Hyundai i20 WRC. Although he already flew into a snow hill on the first stage, which cost him several minutes. A puncture on Saturday made it difficult to catch up.