Race Reviews

WRC: GOgier resumes regular Monte Carlo service

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Seb Ogier took another WRC win but he didn’t have it all his own way as Kris Meeke pushed him before a cruelly placed rock ended his run- Rallye Monte Carlo

From PR materials

 Sebastien Ogier (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 23, 2016 Photographer Credit @World / Red Bull Content Pool
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 23, 2016
Photographer Credit
@World / Red Bull Content Pool

WRC

Sébastien Ogier achieved a childhood ambition by winning Rallye Monte-Carlo for a third consecutive season on Sunday afternoon.

The Frenchman joined an exclusive club of drivers to have won the legendary event, the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, three times in a row. Only Sandro Munari, Walter Röhrl, Tommi Mäkinen and Sébastien Loeb have done likewise.

Ogier, who was born in the rally base of Gap, was greeted by his parents at the finish of the final speed test in the mountains above Monaco to celebrate a 1min 54.5sec victory in his Volkswagen Polo R.

Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen finished second with Thierry Neuville overcoming transmission troubles to secure a debut podium for Hyundai’s new-specification i20, a further 1min 23.4sec back.

“This rally is the most important of the season for me and it’s so emotional to win here for a third time,” said Ogier. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a kid. To win such a difficult rally three times in a row is fantastic, and a real team effort from everyone.”

Ogier and Kris Meeke swapped the lead on several occasions during the first two days on mountain roads in the French Alps that ranged from clear asphalt to snow and ice. Ogier edged clear in yesterday’s third leg and the outcome was decided when Meeke damaged his gearbox after hitting a rock and retired.

Ogier eased through the final leg, which included the famous Col de Turini, one of the highlights of the WRC season, and ensured maximum points from the first of the 14 rounds by also winning the final live TV Power Stage.

 Kris Meeke (GBR) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 23, 2016 Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
Kris Meeke (GBR) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 23, 2016
Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Norwegian Mikkelsen survived a high-speed spin on Friday to start the final leg 12.5sec ahead of Neuville. But a broken propshaft bearing troubled the Belgian all day and he limped through the final stage with only two-wheel drive.

Mads Østberg finished fourth in a Ford Fiesta RS on his return to the M-Sport squad, ahead of Stéphane Lefebvre, for whom fifth was a career-best result. Dani Sordo overcame handling and suspension problems to complete the top six in another i20.

Ott Tänak finished seventh, despite rolling on Friday, with WRC 2 winner Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi and Armin Kremer completing the top 10.

Broken suspension sidelined Jari-Matti Latvala and Bryan Bouffier while Robert Kubica and Eric Camilli both retired after accidents.

The championship heads to Karlstad next month for Rally Sweden (11 -14 February), the only pure winter round of the championship.

 Elfyn Evans (GBR) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 20, 2016 Photographer Credit Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
Elfyn Evans (GBR) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 20, 2016
Photographer Credit
Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

WRC2

Elfyn Evans bounced back from the disappointment of losing his World Rally Car drive at the end of last season to score a convincing victory in the WRC 2 support category at Rallye Monte-Carlo on Sunday afternoon.

The Welshman was the class of the field in M-Sport’s upgraded Ford Fiesta R5 to win by 2min 13.1sec from Germany’s Armin Kremer. Junior WRC champion Quentin Gilbert made a successful step up to finish third in Citroën’s DS 3 R5.

Evans recovered from an opening stage puncture on Thursday night to win seven stages in a row and build a commanding lead. A second puncture allowed Kremer’s Skoda Fabia R5 into top spot, but Evans was quickly back in front and eased through today’s final leg in the mountains above Monaco.

“I had great fun this weekend and it’s fantastic to score a debut win with the new evolution Fiesta after all the hard work that has gone into it,” said Evans, who was partnered by new co-driver Craig Parry for the first time.

 Quentin Gilbert (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 22, 2016 Photographer Credit Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
Quentin Gilbert (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 22, 2016
Photographer Credit
Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Kremer also suffered punctures during the four-days of competition in the French Alps but he was untroubled today by Gilbert, who struggled with a lack of power after his engine’s water temperature soared last night.

Quentin Giordano finished fourth in a DS 3, despite going off the road under braking on Saturday morning, with the similar car of Yoann Bonato in fifth and Jose Suarez in sixth in a Peugeot 208.

Both Bonato and Suarez won stages, the latter twice setting times in the top six overall.

 Hayden Paddon (NZL) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 24, 2016 Photographer Credit Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool
Hayden Paddon (NZL) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2016 in Monte Carlo, Monaco on January 24, 2016
Photographer Credit
Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool