Five-time and reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier started the new season with a WRC triumph at Rally Monte Carlo. This is the fifth consecutive victory for the Frenchman at this historic mountain stage.
Sebastien was leading from the first special stages, but on Friday and Saturday its separation from the pursuer Ott Tanaka decreased, then again increased. The reversal on Friday has led to the fact that before the next day phase, the leadership of the Frenchman was only 15 seconds.
On Saturday, the champion showed his true pace, but by the end of the day, the Estonian still managed to reduce the gap with 1.18,4 to 33.5 seconds.
On the final day of the rally Ogier has not made a single mistake, led to the famous Col de Turini special stage and did not let the opponent closer on the remaining two stages.
Bonus special stage Sebastien Ott showed only the fifth and sixth times, but this did not prevent them to occupy the first two places by results of the debut race of the season.
“It was a very difficult weekend, – commented on the event stage winner. In Monte Carlo are often faced with difficult weather conditions, but this time was very difficult. I’ve never suffered with the choice of rubber. But in the end we won and it’s great. All racers in those days were mistakes. I made them a little less.”
“I’m very happy, said the Ott Tanak in his debut for Toyota rose to the podium. – Really happy – that’s the way to start the season. When you change team, you usually expect a lot of surprises. Today I am very happy. The team and the car is just amazing. These guys did a great job, thank them!»
The gap finishing third Jari-Matti Latvala was 1 minute and 52 seconds behind the leader, and the best of the Citroen drivers Kris Meeke finished the stage almost five minutes from Ogier.
Best score brought the Hyundai of Thierry Neuville. The Belgian finished the race in 10 seconds from Mick, and in the second left behind Elfyn Evans. Three seconds he lost to Esapekka Lappi. Thus, in this group of just four riders finished within the interval of 14 seconds.
The top ten was rounded out the category WRC2 leader Jan Kopecky.
Thus, sébastien Ogier, with the first stage took the lead in the championship, earning 25 points.
|1.||Sebastien Ogier||M-Sport Ford WRT||4:18.55,5|
|2.||Ott Tanak||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||4:19.53,8||+58,3|
|3.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||4:20.47,5||+1.52,0|
|4.||Kris Meeke||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||4:23.38,6||+4.43,1|
|5.||Thierry Neuville||Mobis Hyundai Shell WRT||4:23.49,3||+4.53,8|
|6.||Elfyn Evans||M-Sport Ford WRT||4:23.50,3||+4.54,8|
|7.||Esapekka Lappi||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT||4:23.53,0||+4.57,5|
|8.||Brian Buffie||M-Sport Ford WRT||4:26.35,0||+7.39,5|
|9.||Craig Breen||Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT||4:28.02,2||+9.06,7|
|10.||Jan Kopecky||Skoda Motorsport II||4:35.38,5||+16.43,0|
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