We were stage side for the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo to open the WRC season. Here we take a look at the top contenders from the WRC class. The full results from the rally can be found here
It’s special for many, many reasons. To be equal to Colin McRae in terms of victories means a lot to me – he is the idol for many rally drivers and for so many kids still playing on the PlayStation. Also, it means a lot to start the year with a victory; it’s what I love the most. Last year we ended with victories and to start the new season with more victories is just perfect. This was a very tricky rally, a huge challenge, but that’s why you get the most satisfaction. Seb Ogier
“We enjoyed that! We managed to find the pace and the DS 3 WRC was perfect. When we set off on the first stage, it was as if Daniel and I had never been away! I was very pleasantly surprised by the feeling and the times we set right from the word go. The first two legs were nonetheless very difficult, but we had to push given we were fourteenth in the running order. The conditions didn’t really work in our favour and a minor mistake proved very costly. But that takes nothing away from the fun we had in the DS 3 WRC. We experienced a lot of good moments. It was a really great experience for Daniel, at home, and for me!” Sébastien Loeb
It’s been a great weekend. Monte Carlo is a very demanding rally for all the team and all three co-drivers here. We are all happy to come through with no mistakes. It starts the season in a proper way. It was also a good chance to meet my old friend Daniel [Elena]. He said to me on Saturday morning that he made no other way to play our stupid games and secrets! Really I am satisfied that we have the new car and the job done in the winter is already working. The competition will be tough; Kris Meeke has done some very good times, sometimes with some different strategy about the tyres. The season will be nice. Jari-Matti Latvala
I think, looking at the performance, we drove a pretty clever rally. I knew it would be difficult for me and Ola to challenge from the experience we have – and the conditions. We were clever, and tried to let the result do something for us. With some good tyre choices, we hoped it would come to us. We were looking for fifth or sixth and would have been happy with that. This has been a great rally and we’ve learned a huge amount. This was the first time I drove these tyres, they were completely new for me. I have tried to do a clever rally and got paid by third place. Andreas Mikkelsen
“It’s not been such a bad weekend for us. We were not pushing – just trying to drive with a reasonably good rhythm. The conditions were very tricky and the grip level changed on almost every corner so it was a proper Rallye Monte-Carlo! That is what makes this rally so difficult and that’s why you need to have really good pacenotes and have the experience to know how the conditions are changing from one section to the next.
“I think we managed that for the most part, unfortunately we just had one moment yesterday which lost us a lot of time. But we have certainly learnt a lot. It was a really hard experience but I am sure that it will be good for our future and that we will do better next time.” Ott Tanak
“I’m very happy to reach the end of this year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo in fourth position. We were consistent and quick. Perhaps we might have hoped to do a little better, but fourth position is a good result. I’m now going to concentrate fully on Rally Sweden, which starts in less than two weeks.” Mads Østberg
“It feels great to have completed my first Rallye Monte-Carlo. It’s an unbelievable rally, really difficult and it is a real honour to have the opportunity to drive some of these fantastic stages. After the disappointment of last season, we wanted to take things a bit cautiously but I have gained more confidence with each stage and have really enjoyed myself today. It was a really close battle with Dani for the fifth place so I had to push a bit more in today’s stages. To get both cars to the end of the rally is the most important thing and it is a great team result. Hopefully, it is a good foundation for the rest of the season.” Theirry Neuville
Robert Kubica, who won four stages during the first three days, was reported to have suffered brake failure as he crossed the flying finish of the legendary Col de Turini test. His car went off the road and the impact ripped two wheels from the Fiesta RS.
(Translated from French) “The Monte Carlo WRC was a childhood dream! A fantastic event but very hard. Weather conditions are often tricky and strategies are played mainly on the choice of tires. Overall, we had a good rally regularly in the top 10 with a big perf in SS8. We are happy, even if some errors came darken the picture, especially on the first special which earned us to be in Super Rally for the remainder of the test. We thank everyone who helped us achieve this adventure, and especially the superb work of the team PH SPORT.” Sébastien Chardonnet
(Translated from Russian) Darnitsa Motorsport crew Yuri Prtasov / Paul Cherepin finished the Monte Carlo Rally at the 16th position overall classification. Unfortunately, technical problems on the final day of the rally meant a top 10 and repeating his last year’s achievement was not possible. Failed gearbox (not working 1, 2 and 3) has demanded maximum discipline to complete the rally.
Photos by Sam Tickell, January 2015
Words from press materials
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