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WRC 2019, Round 1/14 – Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 24/27)

WRC 2019

FIA WRC Standings

Round 1, Rallye Monte Carlo

Entry list

Noticeboard

Rally Guide

Itinerary

Rally Maps

Route Preview by @AnttiL_WRC

LIVE text, results & split times

Results – wrc.com

Results – eWRC

Results – Rally-base

Results – Michelin

LIVE Stream

Red Bull TV – free-to-air broadcasting

Red Bull Content Pool

Monaco Channel LIVE

Radio

Autosport LIVE Commentary

Pickems – Split Hut

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1087289768008916992

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1087238368226873345

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1087239054410895360

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1087239655400054784

https://twitter.com/SnapLapNews/status/1087405741726621696

https://twitter.com/OfficialWRC/status/1088200006039949312

Timetabe

Thursday, 25 January

10:00-14:00 Shakedown – Gap (3,35 km)
14:00 Meet the Crews, Service Park, Gap
14:30 FIA Pre-event Press Conference, Press Room, Gap
15:30-16:00 Drivers Autograph Session, Service Park, Gap
18:00 WRC Cars Official Photograph, Desmichels Square, Gap
18:15 FIA WRC Season photo-shoot, Alsace-Lorraine Square, Gap
18:50 First car departs, Gap
19:38 SS 1 La Bréole – Selonnet (20,76 km)
20:41 SS 2 Avançon – Notre Dame du Laus (20,59 km)
21:31 First car arrives for service and Technical Zone, Gap
21:41 Service A (Gap) – 48 min
‘Meet the Crews’, (Gap), Service Park, During the 48′ service
22:29 Parc Fermé (In)
All cars must be returned to Parc Fermé no later than 03:30

Competitive distance: 41,35 km (Liaison 85,92 km, Total 127,27 km)

Sunrise 8:03 (Gap)
Sunset 17:32 (Gap)

Friday, 25 January

7:30 Service B (Gap) – 15 min
9:11 SS 3 Valdrôme – Sigottier 1 (20,04 km)
10:14 SS 4 Roussieux – Laborel 1 (24,05 km)
11:37 SS 5 Curbans – Piégut 1 (18,47 km)
12:17 First car arrives for service and Technical Zone, Gap
12:27 Service C (Gap) – 30 min
14:23 SS 6 Valdrôme – Sigottier 2 (20,04 km)
15:26 SS 7 Roussieux – Laborel 2 (24,05 km)
16:49 SS 8 Curbans – Piégut 2 (18,47 km)
17:34 First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Gap
17:44 Service D (Gap) – 48 min
‘Meet the Crews’, (Gap), Service Park, During the 48′ service
18:32 Parc Fermé (In)
All cars must be returned to Parc Fermé no later than 03:37

Competitive distance: 125,12 km (Liaison 331,94 km, Total 457,06 km)

Sunrise 8:02 (Gap)
Sunset 17:33 (Gap)

Saturday, 26 January

7:37 Service E (Gap) – 15 min
8:48 SS 9 Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps 1 (29,82 km)
10:06 SS 10 Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve 1 (16,87 km)
11:06 First car arrives for service and Technical Zone, Gap
11:21 Service F (Gap) – 30 Min
12:47 SS 11 Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps 2 (29,82 km)
14:08 SS 12 Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve 2 (16,87 km)
15:08 First car arrives for regroup, service and Technical Zone, Gap
15:18 Service G (Gap) – 48 Min
‘Meet the Crews’, (Gap), Service Park, During the 48′ service
20:06 Parc Fermé, Monaco (In)

Competitive distance: 93,38 km (Liaison 464,14 km, Total 557,52 km)

Sunrise 8:01 (Gap)
Sunset 17:34 (Gap)

Sunday, 27 January

6:22 Parc Fermé, Monaco (Out)
8:20 SS 13 La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava 1 (18,41 km)
9:08 SS 14 La Cabanette – Col de Braus 1 (13,58 km)
10:55 SS 15 La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava 2 (18,41 km)
11:25 Regroup, Peïra-Cava
12:18 SS 16 La Cabanette – Col de Braus 2 Power Stage (13,58 km)
13:48 First car arrives for Technical Zone
13:58 Parc Fermé, Monaco (In), Early check-in allowed
15:00 Prize-Giving and podium ceremony, Place du Palais, Monaco
16:00 FIA Press Conference, Media Centre, Monaco
20:30 Gala Dinner, Sporting MonteCarlo, Monaco

Competitive distance: 63,98 km (Liaison 160,60 km, Total 224,58 km)

Sunrise 7:53 (Monaco)
Sunset 17:33 (Monaco)

all times local

Rally total:
16 special stages
Special Stages total: 323,83 km (23,70 %)
Liaison 1042,60 km
Route total: 1366,43 km

During the Rally, the Service Park will be situated:
Gap : Centre Omnisport COSEC – Avenue de Traunstein

Testing

Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team:

Esapekka Lappi, France 17.1.2019

Sébastien Ogier & Esapekka Lappi, France 16.1.2019

Sébastien Ogier, France 15.1.2019

Sébastien Ogier, France 18.-19.12.2018

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1074964313889275904

Day 2

Esapekka Lappi, France 20.-21.12.208

https://twitter.com/hugo_blancher/status/1075673987814952963

Day 2

Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team:

Sébastien Loeb, France 19.-20.1.2019

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1086893203368955904

Day 2:

Thierry Neuville, France 8.1.2019

Andreas Mikkelsen, France 9.1.2019

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team:

Teemu Suninen, France 8.1.2019

https://twitter.com/hugo_blancher/status/1082565654815928320

Teemu Suninen & Elfyn Evans, France 8.1.2019

Pontus Tidemand, France 10.1.2019

https://twitter.com/hugo_blancher/status/1083307884023373824

Teemu Suninen, France 10.-11.12.2018

https://twitter.com/hugo_blancher/status/1072055156953542656

https://twitter.com/planetemarcus/status/1072196191490895873

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team:

Ott Tänak, France 11.-12.12.2018

Jari-Matti Latvala, France 13.-14.12.2018

Kris Meeke, Finland 14.1.2019

Kris Meeke, France 15.-16.12.2018

ŠKODA Motorsport:

Kalle Rovanperä, Czech 15.1.2019

TGS Worldwide:

Kalle Rovanperä, France 20.1.2019

Baumschlager Rallye & Racing:

Ole Christian Veiby, France 14.-15.1.2019

https://twitter.com/OCVeiby/status/1085175664842604544

THX Racing (DG Sport)

Nicolas Ciamin, France 10.1.2019

https://twitter.com/RALLYGIF/status/1083114741869015040

Sarrazin Motorsport:

Stéphane Sarrazin, France 14.1.2019

Team France FFSA Rallye (M-Sport):

Adrien Fourmaux, France 21.1.2019

Pre-event

https://twitter.com/JariMattiWRC/status/1087331900534984704

https://twitter.com/PontusTidemand/status/1086337973350731776

https://twitter.com/KalleRovanpera/status/1085794326720868353

https://twitter.com/RallyeSport/status/1085911514647736320

https://twitter.com/Bartolbia84/status/1087413882237394944

https://twitter.com/Daniele_Michi/status/1086704590253445120

Preview

The FIA World Rally Championship roars back into action next week with the oldest and most famous event of them all, Rallye Monte-Carlo (24-27 January). While classed as an asphalt event, its winter slot in the calendar almost certainly guarantees unpredictable conditions, and a tricky mix of dry and wet asphalt, snow and ice in the French mountains can be expected. Gambling on tyre choices that provide the best compromise for all these conditions – potentially all in the same stage – is an art form that also tests drivers’ abilities to read the road and manage pace and tyre wear throughout an entire stage, or loop of stages.

Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota are once again set to do battle on the world’s stages and while their state-of-the-art world rally cars remain largely the same, changes in driver line-ups could shuffle the pack. Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier moves back to Citroën with a new team-mate in Esapekka Lappi. The sport’s most successful driver, Sébastien Loeb, makes another exciting comeback and kicks off a six-round campaign with Hyundai, joining regulars Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen in i20 Coupe WRCs. Elfyn Evans remains with M-Sport Ford for a fifth season but with a new co-driver, while team-mate Teemu Suninen kicks off a full season in a top specification world rally car for the first time, also with a new co-driver. The squad will also be supported by former FIA WRC 2 Champion Pontus Tidemand in Monte-Carlo. Kris Meeke is back in the Championship with reigning champions Toyota, team-mate to Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Citroën, M-Sport and Škoda have already registered for the newly created FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship for manufacturers of R5 cars and will be fielding entries on the opening round of the 2019 series. The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, which made its competitive debut at the end of last year, is back on the WRC stages in the FIA WRC 2 Championship amid a field of other competitors in the category. Rallye Monte-Carlo is also the first round of the FIA RGT Cup.

THE 2019 ROUTE

The 87th edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo sees the start ceremony move to Place Desmichels in Gap on Thursday evening and the competition immediately gets underway with two new night stages. More fresh challenges await on Friday’s longest day with two loops of three stages; SS3/6 is also completely new, SS4/7 is largely unchanged and SS5/8 has never been driven in this direction. Saturday’s route, which ultimately takes the crews to Monaco, takes in two repeated loops of two stages covering 93.38 competitive kilometres, both of which are virtually the same as 2018. On Bank Holiday Sunday, the top 60 crews will take in two runs over the iconic Col de Turini and La Cabanette-Col de Braus stages, the latter hosting the all-important Power Stage. In a change to recent tradition, and due to the Bank Holiday celebrating St Devote, the Patron Saint of the Principality, the Prize-Giving ceremony will take place on Quai Albert 1er.

Three stages will be broadcast live on television; the opening 20 kilometre night stage La Breole-Selonnet (Thursday), SS12 (St Leger les Melezes-La Batie Neuve 2) on Saturday and the closing Power Stage on Sunday (La Cabanette-Col de Braus). All stages are however available live on WRC All Live on the WRC+ platform.

RALLY DATA

Total distance: 1,366.43 km
Stage distance: 323.83 km (23.7%)
Number of stages: 16

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1087790088866676737

MANUFACTURER ENTRIES, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO

Citroën Total WRT:
Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (#1)
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (#4)

Hyundai Motorsport:
Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (#11)
Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (#89)
Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (#19)

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT:
Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (#8)
Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (#10)
Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (#5)

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team:
Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (#33)
Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (#3)
Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene (#7)

Gravel Crews

Citroën Total WRT:
Sébastien Ogier – Simon Jean-Joseph / Jack Boyère
Esapekka Lappi – Mikko Heikkilä / Jan Lönegren

Hyundai Motorsport:
Thierry Neuville – Bruno Thiry / Julien Vial
Andreas Mikkelsen – Bernt Kollevold / Cato Menkerud
Sébastien Loeb – Patrick Magaud / Isabelle Galmiche

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT:
Ott Tänak – Martin Kangur / Kuldar Sikk
Jari-Matti Latvala – Toni Gardemeister / Juho Hänninen
Kris Meeke – Stephen Whitford / Derek Brannigan

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team:
Elfyn Evans – Gwyndaf Evans / Andrew Edwards
Teemu Suninen – Juuso Pykälistö / Jarmo Lehtinen
Pontus Tidemand – Emil Bergqvist / Roger Eilertsen
Gus Greensmith – Antoine l’Estage / Craig Parry

Kalle Rovanperä –

Takamoto Katsuta – Jarkko Miettinen / Mikko Markkula

Team Previews

Manufacturers: Citroën Total W.R.T. (F) / Citroën C3 WRC (Michelin)
1 Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (F)
4 Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (FIN)

The WRC season’s traditional opening round, Rallye Monte-Carlo is also one of the toughest challenges faced by the crews – a winter event held in unpredictable conditions. With Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Esapekka Lappi – Janne Ferm in the team’s two C3 WRCs, Citroën Total World Rally Team will be able to count on the six-time world champions and rallying’s most promising crew to do the team proud.

Citroën Racing’s technical team has done everything to help its new crews rack up as many miles as possible and start the season with confidence. Both crews had three and half days of specific testing with the C3 WRC – generally covering more than two hundred kilometres per day – in order to run through the wide range of set-up options available. The pre-event tests were held on slippery, dry and wet tarmac, snow and ice, in other words, all of the difficulties that Monte is capable of throwing at you in a single stage! The efforts made confirm Citroën’s determination to up its game this season and quickly pass the milestone of a hundred WRC wins.

Understandably, as the defending six-time world champion and winner of the Rallye Monte-Carlo for the last five years, Sébastien Ogier represents the team’s greatest hopes of success at Monte. The local hero, who has proven time and time again his ability to adapt to conditions, has become an expert at reading the local roads and their countless variations in grip.

With three appearances at this round, Esapekka Lappi does not possess the same experience as his French team-mate. Building on his impressive performances in 2018, during which he scored three podiums, the 28 years old Finn is determined to keep improving in what will be only his second full season in the WRC.

REACTIONS FROM…

Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal

“Although Sébastien and Julien recognised a few familiar faces in the team, this wasn’t the case for Esapekka and Janne, and yet they have settled in quickly and smoothly. We used the off-season to prepare for 2019 in a composed manner, to learn from one another and enable the crews to get as used to the car as possible. At Monte-Carlo, it’s absolutely essential to feel confident in the car. As Sébastien and Julien are five-time winners of the rally, and finished first here last year, they will obviously be a force to be reckoned with. Esapekka and Janne are less experienced on these unusual stages and will undoubtedly be adopting a more gradual approach.”

Olivier Maroselli, Citroën Racing Technical Director

“The C3 WRC has undergone some considerable changes since the 2018 Rallye Monte-Carlo, in terms of the dampers and the design of the suspension, and we now have a good understanding of the basic set-up. We worked on getting a car that was easier to drive, and which is therefore capable of adapting to the varied levels of grip that tend to be thrown up by this event. We had pretty much every condition going during testing: dry tarmac, snow and good quality ice, melting snow and slush. This meant we could analyse a wide variety of settings, such as cross-fitted tyres, which involves paying very careful attention to the set-up in order to ensure the car’s handling remains predictable. We also worked on set-up options that might be adjusted by the crews between stages on a loop, so I think we are well prepared for the rally.”

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver

“I had a wide variety of conditions during my three and a half days of testing, which was pretty good and enabled us to work on achieving the best possible compromise. The feeling was good, but it’s always difficult to estimate your level of performance for the first race in a new car. I’m going to do what I’ve always done and trust my feeling. This is especially true because Monte is a rally that you are more likely to win by driving intelligently, rather than on the limit, given how many places there are where you can get caught out. In any case, I’ve always done well here and I hope that my experience will help me again!”

Number of appearances at the event: 9

Number of wins: 6 (2009 in the IRC, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018)

Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver

“I’m pleased with our tests since we were able to try out everything, apart from completely dry tarmac. With the team, we found a set-up that suits me and I felt comfortable in the car. Having said all that, the Rallye Monte-Carlo is still a huge challenge. It’s an event you have to treat with great respect, especially as it’s never really the same rally from one year to the next, given the way the conditions are constantly changing. I hope to have amassed enough experience in the past to be able to fight near the front. A top-five finish would be a good start to the season for me.”

Number of appearances at the event: 3

Best result: 7th (2018)

KEY FIGURES

16 timed stages covering a total of 323.83 km

43 the maximum number of Michelin tyres that may be used per car, chosen from 24 super soft-compound slicks (Pilot Sport SS6), 20 soft-compound slicks (Pilot Sport S6), 12 non-studded snow tyres (Pilot Alpin A41) and 24 studded snow tyres (Pilot Alpin A41 CL)

7 the number of wins recorded by Citroën at the Rallye Monte-Carlo (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013)

1 hr 10 mins at the latest before the first car on stage, the safety crews (Simon Jean-Joseph-Jack Boyère for Sébastien Ogier-Julien Ingrassia and Mikko Heikkila-Jan Lonegren for Esapekka Lappi-Janne Ferm) are allowed to complete the stages. Equipped with a copy of their crew’s pace notes, they describe the condition of the road, something which is critically important at Monte-Carlo.

RALLYE MONTE-CARLO SCHEDULE (GMT+1)

This year’s route, whilst more compact, actually spans five French departments – the Alpes de Haute-Provence, Hautes Alpes, Drôme, Isère and Alpes Maritimes – and once again promises to provide plenty of difficulties and uncertainty. In fact, almost 47%of the stages have been revised, whilst Thursday evening’s stages, held after nightfall, are completely newthis year. The Valdrome – Sigottier (20.04km) and Curbans – Piegut (18.47km) stages, held on Friday’s leg, are also brand new for 2019.

With the weather always changeable at this time of year, where conditions can be radically different from one side of the mountain to the other, this year’s rally is certain to be a huge challenge once again. Monte-Carlo is often described as being all about “tyres and drivers”. More than anywhere else, perhaps, it is critical to make the right call on tyres and to be genuinely at one with your car, so that you can anticipate its reactions to the constantly changing grip levels provided by the roads.

Manufacturers: M-Sport Ford World Rally Team (GB) / Ford Fiesta WRC (Michelin)
33 Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (GB)
3 Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (FIN)
7 Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene (S/N)

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team are focused on delivering a strong performance at the opening round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship – Teemu Suninen, Elfyn Evans and Pontus Tidemand all pushing for the best possible result at the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Refusing to rest on the five laurels secured over the past two years, M-Sport and Ford’s strong technical partnership continues and the leading EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs will carry a number of significant upgrades next week.

Revisions to the rear bumper and louvres have been introduced to improve performance and durability on the aerodynamics, while new dampers and electronics increase usability. The lamp pods have evolved to incorporate adaptive lighting, and an engine upgrade delivers an appreciable increase in performance.

The Cumbrian squad have also conducted two comprehensive test sessions in the lead-up to Rallye Monte-Carlo – a development test with Suninen at the end of last year and a more targeted pre-event test with all three drivers last week.

Encountering a number of varying conditions, the team are as prepared as they can be and are ready to tackle one of rallying’s most notoriously challenging events.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive this year. Of course we need to be realistic and know how strong the competition will be, but we’ve proven ourselves more than capable and have no intention of slowing down.

“The team have been focused on development and we’re bringing a number of upgrades to Monte-Carlo with more to come over the next six months. We’ve also got a lot of potential in our young and ambitious drivers. Elfyn, Teemu and Pontus are all keen to show what they can do next week, and we plan on giving them everything they need to succeed.

“I fully expect another exciting year of close-fought competition, and our goal is to be in the fight for victories as well as podiums – showcasing the performance of the Fiesta and supporting all of our crews as they take the next step in their respective careers.”

RALLYE MONTE-CARLO

As the oldest event in the FIA World Rally Championship, Rallye Monte-Carlo has iconic status and is one of the most unpredictable and challenging events of the year. It’s a rally that every driver wants to win, and they’ll all be pushing towards that goal next week.

Famed for its varied conditions, it’s not uncommon to see dry asphalt, ice and snow in the space of a single stage and the crews will need to find the best compromise for each leg – shrewd tyre choices and set-up configurations often making all the difference.

ELFYN EVANS AND SCOTT MARTIN

Elfyn Evans joins forces with new co-driver Scott Martin and the pairing will be looking to start their partnership on a high by challenging for the podium positions at Rallye Monte-Carlo. To best prepare, the pairing conducted a two-day test and have spent a number of days perfecting their new partnership with plenty of pacenote practice in advance of the recce!

Evans has contested Rallye Monte-Carlo on five previous occasions and will be looking to secure his best Monte result next week. The Welshman deserved more than a sixth-place finish last year – denied an opportunity to fight for what would have been a place in the top-three when having to stop and change a puncture on the opening speed test.

Elfyn Evans said:

“I’m looking forward to getting this season underway and seeing what myself and Scott can achieve together. We’re both really motivated and determined to secure some strong results this year – and I see no reason why we shouldn’t be doing that from the very first event in Monte.

“We know from last year that we have the speed and the team have been working really hard to improve the car even further. It felt good on the test and we managed to get a feel for a lot of different conditions – damp to wet Tarmac on the first day followed by full snow on the second.

“I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of an event like Monte, but I tend not to look at the forecasts too far in advance. The weather is constantly changing and you need to be able to adapt to the conditions and make the correct tyre choices at short notice – something we’re very much focused on doing next week.”

TEEMU SUNINEN AND MARKO SALMINEN

Teemu Suninen is also joined by a new co-driver this year in the form of fellow Finn Marko Salminen. The pairing contested last year’s Monza Rally Show together and have since completed two test sessions to further perfect their new partnership.

Suninen has contested Rallye Monte-Carlo on two previous occasions, but this will be his first time attacking the event’s legendary stages with the power and performance of a top-specification world rally car.

Teemu Suninen said:

“I’m really excited to start this new season, and the expectations are greater than ever! We’ve completed a lot of test kilometres and I’m feeling really well prepared. Last week Elfyn and I shared a couple of days and we both managed to get a lot of kilometres. We also drove two days at the end of last year, so when you put it all together our preparation has never been better!

“The car feels really nice and really easy to drive – something I think is important in Monte as it’s a rally where the driver makes the biggest difference. Starting the rally with two night stages is always a big challenge and we will need to be alert. It would be nice to start the rally with a good stage time, and that is what we’ll be aiming for.

“We’re using the same notes as last year and I have to say that my preparation with Marko has been really good – everything has been perfect before the start of the season and I hope it stays that way as I tackle this famous rally for the first time with a world rally car!”

PONTUS TIDEMAND AND OLA FLØENE

Making his debut behind the wheel of a new-generation world rally car, Pontus Tidemand will take the next step in his career at next week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo. The Swede is reunited with experienced Norwegian co-driver Ola Fløene, and the pairing will be looking to learn as much as they can ahead of their home event in Sweden.

Having completed a day’s testing last week, the Scandinavian pairing also spent a number of days in the workshop – meeting their new team and learning as much as they can about the top-specification Fiesta so as to be best prepared for the challenges ahead.

Pontus Tidemand said:

“This is a really exciting time for me and I’m looking forward to making my debut in a new-generation world rally car. Last week we had a pre-event test with a lot of snow and ice and the feeling was really good. But in Monte you never know what the weather is going to do and we’ll still need some time to learn the team and the car.

“The conditions make this one of the most challenging events on the calendar. On dry Tarmac the grip is quite high, but when there’s ice and snow the grip is zero and it looks as though we could experience a proper Monte with all kinds of conditions next week.

“Ola has a lot of experience so it’s great to have him alongside me, and I know the team will give us a lot of guidance and advice throughout the weekend. We spent some days in the workshop this week – getting to know the team and the car – and I think we’re as prepared as we can be. The goal is to get to the finish with as much knowledge and experience as possible.”

Manufacturers: Hyundai Motorsport (D) / Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC (Michelin)
11 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (B)
89 Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (N)
19 Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (F/MC)

The scene is set for another exhilarating season of WRC as we prepare for the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of 2019.

One of the most demanding events on the calendar, this year’s Monte will feature a fresh route with up to 40% of the stages remodeled. Yet, the unique challenges of the rally will remain with late evening stages, unpredictable icy and snowy conditions and complex tyre strategies.

Despite showing promising performances at Monte-Carlo, we have only once taken a podium result, in 2016 with Thierry and Nicolas. Our Belgians, in the #11 i20 Coupe WRC, will be hoping for a return to the top-three.

“We are revved up and determined to get the 2019 WRC season off to the best start possible,” said Thierry. “We have built up competitive pace in recent seasons, even if the results have not really been there. I expect – and hope – to fight for the podium, and I will even be looking to go for the victory if at all possible.”

Mind the Gap

Andreas took third place in 2015 and second, with his co-driver Anders, in 2016. Our Norwegians will be targeting an improved season. “Anders and I have worked hard over the winter to learn from our first full season as a Hyundai Motorsport crew, as we aim to build a consistent and strong assault for 2019,” said Andreas.

For our newest crew Sébastien and Daniel, Rallye Monte-Carlo is extremely familiar territory. “It is one of our favourites,” said seven-time Monte winner Sébastien. “Daniel, my co-driver, is Monegasque, so it’s his home rally for him, while it is also something of a home event for me as all of the stages are in France. This year will be a particularly special one with a new team and a new car. I am very motivated.”

All three crews will have had the opportunity to test the i20 Coupe WRC ahead of Monte, albeit with differing preparation time.

“We begin a new season in a refreshed state of mind and looking ahead to what promises to be another exciting, competitive and adrenaline-fuelled championship,” said our Team Director Andrea. “Monte-Carlo is the perfect place for battle to commence.”

Rallye Monte-Carlo begins on Thursday, January 24 with a shakedown at Gap, run over a 3.35km route, before the ceremonial start in the centre and two evening stages.

Manufacturers: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT (FIN) / Toyota Yaris WRC (Michelin)
8 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (EE)
10 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (FIN)
5 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (GB)

The 2019 FIA World Rally Championship season kicks off on January 24-27 with one of the most demanding events of the entire year, the famed Rallye Monte-Carlo. The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team, with its fast and experienced driver line-up of Ott Tänak, Jari-Matti Latvala and new signing Kris Meeke, will look to make the strongest possible start to its defence of the manufacturers’ title it won in 2018 and its fresh assault on the drivers’ and co-drivers’ crowns.

Rallye Monte-Carlo is notorious for its difficult and changeable weather conditions, which can vary from dry asphalt to snow and ice – often within a single stage. This makes tyre choice a critical factor throughout the event, with drivers reliant on their ice-note crews to provide them with information on the latest stage conditions.

The rally is based for much of the event in the French town of Gap, which will host the service park and the start on Thursday evening, before the opening two stages are run in darkness to provide a tricky start to the competitive action. Friday is the longest day of the rally, with two loops of three stages south-west of Gap. Saturday has two stages both run twice before a long drive into Monaco ready for Sunday, which takes place over a pair of repeated tests in the nearby mountains and includes the iconic Col de Turini.

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“We are feeling very excited to start this new season. We have a change to our driver line-up, with Kris joining the team, and there are some big changes among the other teams as well, so it is going to be very interesting to see what happens in Monte Carlo. Of course, it is a very tricky event to begin the season with, but our drivers have a lot of experience there. This is maybe the most important thing, as my success there came in my final years as a driver. We go there feeling very positive as a team: Ott is now very at home in the car compared to one year ago, while Jari-Matti had a really strong end to last season and Kris has felt immediately comfortable with the team and the car.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“I am feeling much more relaxed heading to Rallye Monte-Carlo this year. Twelve months ago, everything was new for me, but now I am going into the season with the same car and the same people and I believe that we are a really strong team now. All of the knowledge and experience we gained last year will only make us better. Personally, I am hungrier than ever, after having come so close in the championship last year. We know that we just need to be smart, particularly on an event that is as unpredictable as this one. Second place was a great result on the Monte last year and it would be nice if we can go one better, but we are up against some really strong opposition.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“Together with my co-driver Miikka, we are about to start our 13th full season in the WRC. There is still a lot of motivation to fight for rally wins, and maybe the drivers’ championship too: this is still the ultimate dream. The second half of last season was really good for us and if we can continue that trend then we should be right up there. We know the car is reliable and fast, so it is up to us drivers to get the most out of it. I have finished on the podium in Monte Carlo in both of the last two years with the Yaris WRC and it would be ideal to keep that run going, but the key is to have a clean weekend and minimise the mistakes.”

Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“I am really excited to get going with what is a new start for me, with a new team, a new car, and even a new co-driver. What the team was able to achieve last season, particularly in the second half of the year, gives me a lot of confidence in the car that I am going to have underneath me. Driving the car myself, I have been impressed by what it is capable of. I am still learning though, so I am not setting any big targets for Rallye Monte-Carlo. My immediate priority is simply to enjoy driving again, and the Monte is certainly an event I have enjoyed in the past.”

WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?
The team enjoyed a great start to the 2018 season in Monte Carlo with a double podium finish. Ott Tänak came second in his debut in the Toyota Yaris WRC, already challenging for victory. Jari-Matti Latvala returned to the podium in third. Esapekka Lappi also showed a strong performance in the third car, holding fourth place until a small mistake on the final stage moved him down to seventh.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team is inspired by the motto: “ALL FOR WIN” as it competes throughout the 2019 season. Our goal in 2019 is to fight for all three crowns. All team members are aiming for this big goal together. We look forward to your continuous support!

WRC2 PRO: ŠKODA Motorsport (TGS Worldwide) / ŠKODA Fabia R5 (Michelin)
30 Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen (FIN)

ŠKODA Motorsport works crew Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen start their motorsport season at the upcoming Rallye Monte-Carlo (24/01/–27/01/2019). After finishing second in class last year, they are now aiming for class victory at the most prestigious rally of the 2019 season. In total, among 31 crews competing with a R5 rally car, 13 rely on the ŠKODA FABIA R5, the most successful rally car in its class so far. ŠKODA Motorsport also has registered Rovanperä into the new WRC 2 Pro category of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The legendary Rallye Monte Carlo will open the 2019 season of the FIA World Rally Championship. The most unpredictable event of the series, notorious for ever-changing road conditions, is also the most prestigious one. Ice, snow, rain, fog and dry roads with traps of loose gravel – the “Monte” offers all kind of road surfaces. “You cannot go flat out all the time, you have to predict the unpredictable. The right tire choice is sometimes like a lottery. But I love this event – especially when there is a lot of ice and snow. This year, I want to build up on the experience I made last year,” says Kalle Rovanperä.

“In 2019, our focus is even more on our customers. I am happy and proud to see, that with 13 crews more than one third of the crews competing with a R5 rally car trusts our ŠKODA FABIA R5,” emphasizes ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek. ŠKODA Motorsport also has registered Kalle Rovanperä into the all-new WRC 2 Pro category of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The first leg of the Rallye Monte-Carlo starts on Thursday (24 January) at 18h50 in the village of Gap, which is situated in the middle of the French Alps. On the opening day, the crews have to face two stages in the dark, each of them more than 20 kilometres long. On Friday and Saturday (25/26 January), more stages follow before the teams head south to Monte Carlo. The Sunday leg (27 January) features four more stages, among them two runs over the famous Col de Turini. In total, the crews have to tackle 16 special stages covering roughly 323 kilometres.

Did you know…

…that the Rallye Monte-Carlo, first run in 1911, is the oldest event of today’s WRC calendar?

…that the Rallye Monte Carlo was originally designed in order to promote Monte-Carlo as a tourist destination? Until 1998 the teams – although that year the factory teams were exempt – started from different corners of Europe and sometimes even North Africa in a so-called “Concentration Run”, an endurance test before the competitors were united in Monaco or somewhere in Southern France and the real action started?

…the Rallye Monte-Carlo is the only WRC event, where teams have to choose between four types of tyres: slicks, slicks with some studs, winter tyres and winter tyres with studs.

…that the tyre choice is extremely difficult and crucial at Rallye Monte-Carlo? The teams have to tackle between two and three stages with the four tyres mounted on the car plus a maximum of two spare wheels. Because all too often one stage is covered with snow, the next one icy, wet or dry, tyre choice mostly is a compromise.

…that therefore crews often fit their car for example with a mixture of studded winter tyres and slick tyres in all kind of combinations in order to somehow meet the changing road conditions?

…that this year the price-giving ceremony on Sunday will be held at Qui Albert 1er, overlooking the famous harbour?

WRC2 PRO: M-Sport Ford World Rally Team / Ford Fiesta R5 (Michelin)
21 Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson (GB)

Gus Greensmith is geared up for the opening round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship at next week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo. Teaming up with new co-driver Elliott Edmondson in an M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5, the pairing will battle for victory in the new WRC 2 Pro class.

Greensmith got his first taste of Rallye Monte-Carlo last year – learning the unique nature of the legendary event behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R2. Despite being forced to retire with a mechanical issue, the Brit held his own against a strong local field and showed stage-winning pace – something he’ll be keen to replicate when making his four-wheel-drive Monte debut next week.

Gus Greensmith said:

“The conditions at Rallye Monte-Carlo are so unpredictable and you have to be very aware and focused to pull together a winning performance. It’s crazy. One second it’s dry and the next it’s full snow! And the thrill of driving on snow with a Tarmac set-up is second to none!

“A win in Monte is something that every driver wants to achieve, and we’ll be pushing towards that goal. I’ve got a good feeling for the rally, and just need to bring it all together next week.”

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of those events where experience and confidence count for a lot. Gus is a little on the back foot as he contested the event for the first time with a two-wheel-drive Fiesta R2 last year. But he certainly has the ambition and determination to do well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a strong performance from him.

“He has the pace, and is developing a consistency that will work in his favour next week. If he can pull everything together there’s no reason why he can’t challenge for the top results in the inaugural round of this exciting new WRC 2 Pro Championship – a result that all of the competitors will be after.”

Service Park

https://twitter.com/ACM_Media/status/1087284580573474816

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1088042284476715010

https://twitter.com/planetemarcus/status/1087370845251686401

https://twitter.com/HartusvuoriWRC/status/1088120698848100353

https://twitter.com/planetemarcus/status/1087369586629062656

Recce

https://twitter.com/TeemuSuninenRac/status/1087297671080169472

https://twitter.com/PontusTidemand/status/1087374935608229888

https://twitter.com/F_Gustavsson/status/1087435268318265344

https://twitter.com/F_Gustavsson/status/1087434803635515392

https://twitter.com/F_Gustavsson/status/1087434126104428544

https://twitter.com/F_Gustavsson/status/1087433237255856128

https://twitter.com/Daniele_Michi/status/1087611373402681344

https://twitter.com/DanosElena/status/1087684043934781446

https://twitter.com/JariMattiWRC/status/1087789560233447425

https://twitter.com/GuillaumeMevius/status/1087691498701930496

https://twitter.com/MiikkaAnttila/status/1088072354784260096

https://twitter.com/GreensmithGus/status/1088124907379216384

 

https://twitter.com/Omar_AvilaARG/status/1087471210353561600

https://twitter.com/MattJelonek/status/1087776120626270213

https://twitter.com/Michelin_Sport/status/1087717185785679872

https://twitter.com/ACM_Media/status/1088213711255420928

Wednesday, 23 January

https://twitter.com/El_Risson/status/1088097615462453248

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1087988008719138817

https://twitter.com/AMikkelsenRally/status/1088052077190963202

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088148260647251968

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088151220135620609

Thursday, 24 January

10:00-14:00 Shakedown – Gap (3,35 km)
14:00 Meet the Crews, Service Park, Gap
14:30 FIA Pre-event Press Conference, Press Room, Gap
15:30-16:00 Drivers Autograph Session, Service Park, Gap
18:00 WRC Cars Official Photograph, Desmichels Square, Gap
18:15 FIA WRC Season photo-shoot, Alsace-Lorraine Square, Gap
18:50 First car departs, Gap
19:38 SS 1 La Bréole – Selonnet (20,76 km)
20:41 SS 2 Avançon – Notre Dame du Laus (20,59 km)
21:31 First car arrives for service and Technical Zone, Gap
21:41 Service A (Gap) – 48 min
‘Meet the Crews’, (Gap), Service Park, During the 48′ service
22:29 Parc Fermé (In)
All cars must be returned to Parc Fermé no later than 03:30

Competitive distance: 41,35 km (Liaison 85,92 km, Total 127,27 km)

Sunrise 8:03 (Gap)
Sunset 17:32 (Gap)

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088360604753166336

https://twitter.com/HartusvuoriWRC/status/1087778686693269504

https://twitter.com/FakeHinkelstein/status/1088487951191941125

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088359943449792512

https://twitter.com/thierryneuville/status/1088361917058609153

https://twitter.com/ACM_Media/status/1088355393888231424

https://twitter.com/ThibaultPascal/status/1088361665081548800

https://twitter.com/HartusvuoriWRC/status/1088365621975400448

Meet the Crews

Shakedown: Jari-Matti Latvala went wide off the road.

https://twitter.com/inforallyes/status/1088389836883611650

Shakedown, FIA World Rally Championship

Shakedown, Michelin Motorsport

Shakedown, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC

Shakedown, Anthony Bailet

Shakedown, Palbo46 Rally & Racing Videos

Shakedown, RivieraRallynet

Shakedown, Rallyciak

Shakedown, Passats de Canto

Shakedown, Lolowrc05

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Rallye Monte Carlo
Pre-event Press Conference
Thursday 24th January

Present:
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb, Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
Teemu Suninen, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Q:
Lots of changes for the 2019 season and we see you back with the team where you started your WRC journey. Firstly, how does it feel to be back?
SO:
The main word is excited. I am always excited to start Monte Carlo, but there’s even more reason with a new team and a new car. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in this new environment. It started well, but a dry shakedown doesn’t mean much – we expect different conditions tonight. It’s nice to start. It’s a bit exhausting to do all the functions we have to do before the start, but now I have a passion to put the helmet on and start the race.

Q:
The C3 WRC has been through many changes since its debut and has been at the hands of many drivers. What were your initial thoughts of the car? What are its strengths? What do you feel needs more work? Do you feel you have a set-up which suits you?
SO:
In terms of feedback I am still working to get to 100 per cent, but there is some speed in there and that’s important. We need to work to use every bit of the car, so the target here is to stay out of trouble. If we can do that and put the right tyres on then there’s something to achieve. Even if it’s not perfect, there’s enough to have a good performance.

Q:
Some new stages tonight?
SO:
It’s very new. I come from this area, but many of these stages I have never seen at all. I like this feeling, it’s the same for everybody. We make new notes and then go for it. But with the ice and slippery corners, we can expect things to be happening. Tonight you cannot win the rally, but certainly you can lose it.

Q:
And how’s the feeling in the team?
SO:
It’s good. I still feel we miss some things and for sure lots will get better and better, but everybody is motivated to do well and I hope this will be enough to make a good start to the season.

Q:
Seb, a major change for you with a new venture with a brand new team in Hyundai. I think we are all adjusting to not seeing you in Citroen overalls! How are you adapting to the change?
SL:
It’s the first time I have this opportunity to change, before this Citroen was always making everything to keep me. This year it was different and I had this opportunity to change. It’s exciting to discover what it’s like. It’s not easy to adapt, all the cars I drove before have all been a bit the same in terms of steering, brakes, but this one feels different. The feeling is coming quickly and I enjoy this. I’m discovering a new way to work with other guys in a new team. It’s exciting.

Q:
It has been a swift turnaround from the Dakar to this event, and limited testing for you! The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC has been competitive across the past two seasons. What did you think of the car on your recent tests? How many kilometres of testing have you completed?
SL:
It’s not an easy January for me with Dakar and coming straight to the Monte. But I had some good sleep in the nights. OK, it’s difficult to wake up in the morning with some jet lag, but I have been able to manage everything I need to do. On Saturday I did half a day of testing and a full day on Sunday and then here for the recce. It’s not an easy challenge when you only test for one and a half days and then a recce for a rally that’s nearly completely new for me. But the feeling is quite good. Still I have to adjust to some things, but it’s OK.

Q:
What are the strengths of the car?
SL:
It’s quite an easy car to drive. In full dry, maybe it’s sliding a bit more than the Citroen I had before, but to play with the car it’s easier. I didn’t drive enough yet, but it has good potential.

Q:
How much of a help was shakedown?
SL:
It’s difficult to know, the rally will be very different to shakedown – the conditions will be difficult and many things can happen tonight. I try to stay on the road and not make mistakes or go too hard. I hope the feeling comes and I can fight at the front in the dry tomorrow.

Q:
What can you tell us about your tyre choice tonight?
SL:
I start at nine on the road, I will see eight tyre choices – I will have a clear idea! For tonight it could be too complicated.

Q
Welcome back to the championship Kris. New team, new car and a new co-driver for you – lots of change. How ready are you to tackle a new season?
KM:
It’s nice to be back. I’m in a new team with a new atmosphere and there’s a new atmosphere in the car with Seb Marshall. I’ve had a bit of time away from the sport, so I’ve been able to re-organise things. Thankfully the opportunity came with Toyota and it seems to work nice so far. I still have a lot of kilometres to do to understand the car fully – it was be different again at shakedown: when you get the helmet on and the clocks are running on a new stage, it all feels different. It’s then that you start to truly understand the car. The two guys ahead of me said shakedown is not representative. I still have a lot to learn and I have to be patient.

Q:
What’s the objective on this rally?
KM:
Specifically on this rally, there is zero objective. I’ve done two days testing in Tarmac trim, but it’s nine months since I drove competitively. I can’t truly understand the car until we get out there and really feel it. I was a bit apprehensive this morning, like I said it’s nine months away, but it seemed to come back quite easily, which is nice.

Q:
What has the dynamic been like at the team? How have you found working with Tommi Mäkinen so far? Was he a bit of a hero for you growing up?
KM:
It’s nice to finally have people who understand the game in control. The team is Finnish based and the Finns have quite a knowledge of motorsport – it’s in their blood. There’s less talking and more doing. I like the environment up until now and just want to enjoy my time.

Q:
You change co-driver after almost a decade with Paul Nagle. How has it been so far with Seb Marshall?
KM:
Seb I’ve known a few years now, he’s been around the service park for a while, maybe not as a co-driver all the time, but in various jobs. The relationship is good, but it’s only the long road sections that you get to know somebody better.

Q:
Teemu this will be your first full season with M-Sport in a WRC car. Last year in Monte you were in an R5, this will be very different prospect for you! What are your hopes for this event?
TS:
I’m really looking forward to being here in a WRC car. We have a difficult rally with snow and icy corners – there will be a lot of challenges.

Q:
You also have a new co-driver with Marko Salminen– how’s that working?
TS:
It’s been good. We have a really good relationship and on the shakedown he was reading the notes well. For the moment, I’m happy.

Q:
What’s your target here?
TS:
The plan is to be more consistent, to get a few more podiums than last year and to try to improve the pace.

Q:
What advice from the team?
TS:
They told me to keep the head cool and focus on my own thing without too many risks. I need to focus on the correct things.

Q:
You learned a lot from Séb [Ogier] last year, will that help this time?
TS:
Yeah, I learn a lot. To follow him with tyre set-up was nice, but now I have to go my own way – maybe I’ll give him a call, I still have his number! It’s nice to step up in the team and grow up a bit in the team.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Raphaëlle Peltier
AFP, France

Q:
Can you explain the different tyre choices you have?
SO:
We have much more choices here than on other rallies. For the rest of season we only have two tyres, so this is very exciting to have more tyres – there’s more chance for strategy. But also here we have to face bigger changes in the conditions. If you have driven the summer [road] tyre on ice or snow, you will know how this feels, it happens during the race. It’s difficult to survive, but we have to do it sometimes for the compromise.

SL:
Seb (Ogier) said a bit of everything, there are more choices. Sometimes some part of the stage is ice or snow, wet and dry Tarmac and you have to use the calculation you made to know how much you gain by using slicks on the [dry] Tarmac and then on the ice. You make your calculations and then you make your choice – it’s not easy to decide.

KM:
I agree.

TS:
And you need to trust the gravel crew and follow their recommendations.

FIA WRC 2 PRO CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
Gus Greensmith, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Kalle Rovanperä, Skoda Motorsport

Q:
Gus, an interesting season lies ahead for you. WRC 2 Pro and some outings in a WRC car, both with M-Sport. Your biggest season to date? Are you fully prepared?
GG:
It’s going to be a busy year. I had three days at home since Christmas, so there’s been no time to relax – but that’s the way we like it. I hope for the worst conditions here…

Q:
Tell us about those conditions, what have you seen?
GG:
On the recce it was mainly dry. We saw some ice patches but not a lot. Then when we were coming out of the recce on SS2 the snow fell and when I saw some pictures of the road an hour or two later, the road looked nothing like the one we’d just driven down. That’s part of Monte Carlo, I’m sure Antoine [L’Estage] and Craig [Parry] will do a good job as our gravel note crew.

Q:
You also have a new co-driver onboard – well almost new! Elliot Edmondson returns after an absence of a few years. Why did you decide to go back with Elliot and is the relationship working well?
GG:
After the crash in Germany, the injuries Craig [Parry] sustained meant the risk was too high and he decided to retire from competing while moving into another area in the sport. I had to find myself a new co-driver and from the options we looked at, Elliot was the best option. We are keeping Craig close so he can help with his experience. I’m only 22 and Elliot’s only 24, so we’re quite young for a crew.

Q:
What’s the objective for WRC 2 Pro this year?
GG:
I missed out on a win or two last year and I refuse to let that happen again this time. I would like to put a win or two on the board. Then there’s a new R5 car coming from M-Sport, so we’re looking forward to that. I’ll drive the World Rally Car in Portugal and maybe on some more rounds. The objective is to drive as fast as I can.

Q:
Where’s the focus for this year? Is it times in the WRC car or WRC 2 Pro?
GG:
The most important thing is WRC 2 Pro, that’s the majority of the calendar and we have the new car coming, so we’ll have work to do with M-Sport. But also I want to show what I can do when I get the chance to drive against the world’s best drivers in Portugal.

Q:
Kalle, a successful 2018 season saw you on the top step of the WRC 2 podium twice, what is the objective for you in 2019?
KR:
I think it’s the same target as last year: to gain more experience on rallies which are new for us and try to be fastest where we’ve been before. And then to fight for the title if it looks good.

Q:
After a full season in WRC 2 in 2018 how steep would you say the learning curve was? What was the main thing that you learnt last year?
KR:
We made a big improvement from Monte Carlo last year with the notes, the driving and everything – we should be in a much better place. I don’t know, I think everything needs to be working a bit better.

Q:
What do you think of the stages?
KR:
They are really nice. There’s some really fast places and some technical places. It looks good and should suit us well. I’m hoping the snow is coming, that would be more fun! If it’s a full snow stage, it’s more fun for me.

Q:
What have you been doing since we saw you last time in Spain?
KR:
It’s been a long winter training and getting ready for the season.

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
Ole Christian Veiby
Adrien Fourmaux

Q:
Ole Christian – new year and a new car for you, we see you compete in WRC 2 with the Volkswagen Polo R5. Firstly, tell us your thoughts on the car…I believe you rallied it at home recently?
OCV:
It’s really good. I feel really comfortable in the car, from the first test it felt like I could drive fast immediately. I’ve done some testing now and a rally in Norway, but Monte Carlo is something completely different, but it feels really good.

Q:
The changes don’t just stop at the car, you have a new co-driver on board with Jonas Andersson alongside you now. You have competed together before and won the WRC 3 class here in 2016 – why did you decide to join forces again?
OCV:
Me and Jonas are working really good together. We saw in 2016 we managed to win in WRC 3. We work good together from the first metre and I think he will have a nice input to the car.

Q:
We’ve seen you compete in WRC 2 since 2016 with two full seasons in 2017 and 2018. What is your objective in 2019, what are you targeting?
OCV:
We want to be at the top and absolutely we can do that. Here in Monte, the win is maybe not the most important thing, but to score valuable points is really important and to take more experience. Sweden is my home base, it’s always fun to compete there.

Q:
So we’ll see you going for it in Sweden?
OCV:
Yeah, it’s bit different in Sweden. We did good here last year, and I like this event a lot. It will be interesting.

Q:
Adrien, you were the French Junior Rally Champion in 2018 and now you are set to compete here at the legendary Rallye Monte Carlo, what is your feeling ahead of this weekend – excitement and nerves?
AF:
Both! This is my first time in WRC, it’s good to be here and during eight years I was spectating in Monte Carlo. For me it’s a chance to be here and I prefer that. I’m looking forward to starting tonight.

Q:
You have an experienced co-driver alongside you in with Renaud Jamoul, how is the relationship between so far? Did you choose Renaud due to his previous experience on WRC events?
AF:
With the FFSA, we decide to change the co-driver. We need more experience – he (Jamoul) has done every event three times except Sweden. I hope his experience will be good. It was snowing yesterday and that will be my first time in these conditions.

Q:
How have you prepared for the event?
AF:
At the end of 2018, I spent two weeks at M-Sport learning how to fix things if something is broken. After that I worked on my physical side, then we had a good test with the FFSA and M-Sport – we didn’t have ice conditions, only dry conditions. It will be difficult, but I take it how I like.

Q:
You are backed by the FFSA and have graduated through Rallye Jeunes, is your objective now to follow in the steps of the French World Champions?
AF:
Yes, but the way is very long and it’s a big step. I have to be patient and do my best.

Q:
What have you been doing to prepare for this event? What are your thoughts on the Fiesta R5?
AF:
Good car. I like this car!

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088484179489292288

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088484609535418368

https://twitter.com/MiikkaAnttila/status/1088486328780668929

https://twitter.com/Michelin_Sport/status/1088495517477289984

https://twitter.com/FRST_CH/status/1088475188348502016

The starting order:

ORD ENTRANT (TEAM) DRIVER/CODRIVER NAT. NR CAR GR CL SEED PR  
1 Citroën Total W.R.T. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia F 1 Citroën C3 WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul B 11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
3 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja EE 8 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
4 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila FIN 10 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
5 Citroën Total W.R.T. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm FIN 4 Citroën C3 WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
6 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger N 89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
7 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin GB 33 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
8 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen FIN 3 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
9 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena F/MC 19 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
10 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall GB 5 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
11 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene S/N 7 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
12 ŠKODA Motorsport (TGS Worldwide) Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen FIN 30 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2P WRC2 PRO
13 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson GB 21 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 P2P WRC2 PRO
14 (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing) Ole Christian Veiby / Jonas Andersson N/S 23 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
15 THX Racing (DG Sport) Nicolas Ciamin / Yannick Roche F 24 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
16 Citroën Total (CHL Sport Auto) Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud F 22 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
17 (DG Sport) Guillaume de Mevius / Martijn Wydaeghe B 25 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
18 Team France FFSA Rallye (M-Sport Poland) Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul F/B 26 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
19 Grégoire Munster / Louis Louka LUX/B 27 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
20 “Pedro” / Emanuele Baldaccini I 28 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
21 (CA1 Sport) Rhys Yates / Denis Giraudet GB 29 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
22 Manuel Villa / Daniele Michi I 35 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
23 Enrico Brazzoli / Manuel Fenoli I 56 Fiat 124 Abarth Rally RGT RGT RGT RGT
24 Mauro Miele / Luca Beltrame I 20 Citroën DS3 WRC RC1 WRC
25 Tommi Mäkinen Racing (MM-Motorsport) Takamoto Katsuta / Daniel Barrit J/GB 31 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
26 (BMAutosport) Olivier Burri / Anderson Levratti CH/F 32 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
27 (Sarrazin Motorsport) Stéphane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci F 34 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5
28 Jean-Michel Raoux / Victor Bellotto F 36 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
29 Claude Carret / Olivier Mathias F 38 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
30 Eamonn Boland / Michael Joseph Morrissey IRL 39 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
31 Henk Vossen / Erwin Berkhof NL 40 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
32 Marco Paccagnella / Michele Ferrara I 42 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
33 (BMA) Bertrand Pierrat / Aurélia Chevalier F 43 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5
34 Davide Riccio / Monica Cicognini I 44 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
35 Nicolas Hernandez / Kévin Bronner F 45 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
36 Philippe Baffoun / Mathieu Maurin F 46 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
37 (Balvosca s.r.l.) Matteo Gamba / Nicola Arena I 47 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
38 New Turbomark Davide Caffoni / Massimo Minazzi I 48 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
39 Alessandro Gino / Danilo Fappani I 49 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
40 Hervé Knapick / Marie-Laure Lemonnier-Peu F 50 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5
41 Claudio Marenco / Luca Pieri I 51 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
42 Tiziano Gecchele / Mauro Peruzzi I 52 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
43 Andrea Nucita / Giuseppe Princiotto I 53 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5
44 Silvano Patera / Maurizio Barone I 54 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
45 Philippe Rageau / Alexandra Rageau F 60 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
46 Jérémy Caradec / Cédric Amoros F 61 Renault Clio R3 Maxi RC3 R3
47 Rachele Somaschini / Sergio Marchetti I 62 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T
48 Andrea Coti Zelati / Emanuela Revello I 63 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T
49 Ian Crerar / Christina Kröner CDN 57 Porsche 997 Carrera RGT RGT RGT RGT
50 Lilian Vialle / Manuel Ghirardello F 64 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
51 Renault Sport Technologies Olivier Courtois / Hubert Risser F 65 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
52 Federico Gasperetti / Federico Ferrari I 66 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
53 Olivier Desmoulins / Vincent Delaplanche F 67 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T
54 Stéphane Clair / Alain Kanbelle F 68 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
55 Cédric Durand / Caroline Mazet F 69 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
56 Nicolas Latil / Romain Roche F 70 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
57 Laurent Scherrer / Romuald Dupont F 71 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
58 Nikos Pavlidis / Allan Harryman GR/GB 72 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
59 Frédéric Fortunato / Lionel Neto F 73 Citroën C2 R2 Max RC4 R2
60 Laure Jaussaud / Carine Jaussaud F 74 Renault Twingo RS R2 RC4 R2
61 Carlo Covi / Pietro Elia Ometto I 75 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
62 Thibaut Poizot / Marion Grand F 76 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
63 Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio / Filippo Bordignon I 77 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
64 Marco Blanc / Luca Lattanzi I 78 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
65 Yohan Rossel / Benoît Fulcrand F 79 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
66 Marc Dessi / Pamela Dessi MC 80 Ford Fiesta R2 RC4 R2
67 Renaud Dolce / Jean-Pierre Ayasse F 81 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
68 Paul Gardère / Jean-Louis Bufferne F 82 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
69 Claude Bensimon / Isabelle Barbé F 83 Ford Fiesta R2T RC4 R2
70 Jean-Marie Mavounzy / Damien Augustin F 84 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
71 Sébastien Rambaud / Ophélie Abchiche F 85 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
72 Timo van der Marel / Rebecca van der Marel-Smart NL/AUS 86 Opel ADAM R2 RC4 R2
73 Mickael Boisseranc / Quentin Giroud F 87 Ford Fiesta R2T RC4 R2
74 Sébastien Martinez / Paulo Santos F 88 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
75 Gilles Michellier / Christophe Richard F 90 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
76 Ermanno Dionisio / Fabio Grimaldi I 91 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
77 Pascal Eouzan / Pascale Eouzan F 92 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
78 Yoann Reymond / Marine Delon F 93 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
79 Damien Oberti / Thomas Escartefigue F 94 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2
80 Richard Desbordes / Steven Desbordes F 95 Citroën DS3 R1 RC5 R1
81 Roberto Antonucci / Herbert Antonucci I 96 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1
82 Christophe Berard / Christophe Bernabo F 97 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1
83 Benjamin Duhamel / Patrick Therry F 98 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1
84 Alain Mari / Jean-Dominique Cesari F 99 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1

https://twitter.com/OfficialWRC/status/1088505462260187136

SS 1: Teemu Suninen stopped at the 3,2 km mark. Went off the road and got stuck in a ditch. Retired -> Rally 2

https://twitter.com/TeemuSuninenRac/status/1088514564218671104

SS 1: Kalle Rovanperä went into the ditch exactly at the same place as Suninen and hit Teemu´s car. Broke two wheels, something from the front and had to drive without the lights. Lost over 10 minutes.

https://twitter.com/RallyEntertain/status/1088520215665799169

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1088519203118895105

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1088518409644593153

https://twitter.com/OttTanak/status/1088516648317976577

SS 2: Kris Meeke had to drive 7 or maybe 9 km with a puncture. Tyre off the front right rim. Lost over 1 minute.

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1088541118348832774

https://twitter.com/thierryneuville/status/1088528237498716160

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088535097471651841

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1088533005797388288

https://twitter.com/GuillaumeMevius/status/1088538680971743233

https://twitter.com/SebOgier/status/1088538759912660993

https://twitter.com/thierryneuville/status/1088551293302509570

Ott Tänak has powered his Toyota Yaris WRC into a 9.1-second lead on the opening night of Rallye Monte-Carlo, the Estonian ahead of reigning World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier after two stages on the first round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. Thierry Neuville heads the Hyundai challenge in third, just 5.2 seconds further adrift.

After the opening ceremony in Gap, crews immediately headed to two new stages, both run in darkness and totalling 41.35 competitive kilometres. Tänak was on the pace from the outset and won the opener to claim a five-second advantage over the returning Kris Meeke. In the second stage, third fastest was enough to extend his lead, despite a spin in the tricky conditions. Ogier’s tyre choice proved safe for the first stage and he dropped 10.6 seconds, but regained some time in the next to climb into second position. Neuville dropped nearly 30 seconds in the opener, but then reeled in his rivals with fastest time on the clearer roads and overnights just 14.3 seconds off the lead.

Behind the leading trio Esapekka Lappi admitted he hadn’t had the best tyre strategy, but the Finn overnight in fourth on his debut with Citroën. Former team-mate and Yaris WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala felt the car was too soft for the conditions and he lacked confidence as a consequence, but he is just 1.2 seconds behind Lappi. Elfyn Evans is in the lead Fiesta WRC in sixth, kicking himself for not pushing harder but happy to have a clean start. In comparison, team-mate Teemu Suninen went off and into retirement in the first stage. After setting a great pace, Meeke dropped down the order with a puncture and is seventh ahead of nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb. The Frenchman, despite his lack of seat-time in the Hyundai, was fourth but then eighth fastest through this evening’s stages – the second not optimum for his tyres – and he overnights in eighth. Andreas Mikkelsen is ninth and Pontus Tidemand rounds out the top 10 after a cautious start.

In the newly-created FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship, Gus Greensmith leads after Kalle Rovanperä went off, and Yoann Bonato tops the standings in the WRC 2 Championship, which is now solely for private entrants. He heads Nicolas Ciamin and Guillaume de Mevius.

Results after Section 1

1 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC 26min 33.0sec
2 Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia Citroen C3 WRC 26min 42.1sec
3 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 26min 47.3sec
4 Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm Citroen C3 WRC 27min 18.2sec
5 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC 27min 19.4sec
6 Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin Ford Fiesta WRC 27min 21.2sec
7 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC 27min 26.8sec
8 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 27min 28.2sec
9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jǽger Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 27min 32.6sec
10 Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene Ford Fiesta WRC 28min 14.1sec

Day 1,  TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC

Day 1, Palbo46 Rally & Racing Videos

Day 1, RivieraRallynet

Day 1, Rallyciak

Day 1, Lolowrc05

7:30 Service B (Gap) – 15 min
9:11 SS 3 Valdrôme – Sigottier 1 (20,04 km)
10:14 SS 4 Roussieux – Laborel 1 (24,05 km)
11:37 SS 5 Curbans – Piégut 1 (18,47 km)
12:17 First car arrives for service and Technical Zone, Gap
12:27 Service C (Gap) – 30 min
14:23 SS 6 Valdrôme – Sigottier 2 (20,04 km)
15:26 SS 7 Roussieux – Laborel 2 (24,05 km)
16:49 SS 8 Curbans – Piégut 2 (18,47 km)
17:34 First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Gap
17:44 Service D (Gap) – 48 min
‘Meet the Crews’, (Gap), Service Park, During the 48′ service
18:32 Parc Fermé (In)
All cars must be returned to Parc Fermé no later than 03:37

Competitive distance: 125,12 km (Liaison 331,94 km, Total 457,06 km)

Sunrise 8:02 (Gap)
Sunset 17:33 (Gap)

https://twitter.com/HartusvuoriWRC/status/1088069297296076802

https://twitter.com/llluis555/status/1088036886415884288

https://twitter.com/HartusvuoriWRC/status/1088094822257381376

https://twitter.com/HartusvuoriWRC/status/1087997757737091072

https://twitter.com/llluis555/status/1088084902816428033

The starting order:

ORD ENTRANT (TEAM) DRIVER/CODRIVER NAT. NR CAR GR CL SEED PR  
1 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen FIN 3 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
2 Citroën Total W.R.T. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia F 1 Citroën C3 WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
3 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul B 11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
4 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja EE 8 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
5 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila FIN 10 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
6 Citroën Total W.R.T. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm FIN 4 Citroën C3 WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
7 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger N 89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
8 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin GB 33 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
9 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena F/MC 19 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
10 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall GB 5 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
11 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene S/N 7 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC P1 M
12 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson GB 21 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 P2P WRC2 PRO
13 ŠKODA Motorsport (TGS Worldwide) Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen FIN 30 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2P WRC2 PRO
14 Citroën Total (CHL Sport Auto) Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud F 22 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
15 THX Racing (DG Sport) Nicolas Ciamin / Yannick Roche F 24 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
16 (DG Sport) Guillaume de Mevius / Martijn Wydaeghe B 25 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
17 Team France FFSA Rallye (M-Sport Poland) Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul F/B 26 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
18 (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing) Ole Christian Veiby / Jonas Andersson N/S 23 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
19 (BMAutosport) Olivier Burri / Anderson Levratti CH/F 32 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
20 Grégoire Munster / Louis Louka LUX/B 27 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
21 (Sarrazin Motorsport) Stéphane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci F 34 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5
22 Andrea Nucita / Giuseppe Princiotto I 53 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5
23 Tommi Mäkinen Racing (MM-Motorsport) Takamoto Katsuta / Daniel Barrit J/GB 31 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
24 New Turbomark Davide Caffoni / Massimo Minazzi I 48 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
25 (CA1 Sport) Rhys Yates / Denis Giraudet GB 29 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
26 (Balvosca s.r.l.) Matteo Gamba / Nicola Arena I 47 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
27 Alessandro Gino / Danilo Fappani I 49 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
28 Manuel Villa / Daniele Michi I 35 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
29 Nicolas Latil / Romain Roche F 70 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
30 Mauro Miele / Luca Beltrame I 20 Citroën DS3 WRC RC1 WRC
31 Nicolas Hernandez / Kévin Bronner F 45 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
32 Philippe Baffoun / Mathieu Maurin F 46 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
33 Yohan Rossel / Benoît Fulcrand F 79 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
34 Jean-Michel Raoux / Victor Bellotto F 36 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
35 Silvano Patera / Maurizio Barone I 54 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
36 Frédéric Fortunato / Lionel Neto F 73 Citroën C2 R2 Max RC4B R2
37 Damien Oberti / Thomas Escartefigue F 94 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
38 Claudio Marenco / Luca Pieri I 51 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
39 Cédric Durand / Caroline Mazet F 69 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
40 Tiziano Gecchele / Mauro Peruzzi I 52 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
41 Laurent Scherrer / Romuald Dupont F 71 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
42 Thibaut Poizot / Marion Grand F 76 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
43 Eamonn Boland / Michael Joseph Morrissey IRL 39 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
44 “Pedro” / Emanuele Baldaccini I 28 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5 P2 WRC2
45 Marco Paccagnella / Michele Ferrara I 42 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
46 Federico Gasperetti / Federico Ferrari I 66 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
47 Timo van der Marel / Rebecca van der Marel-Smart NL/AUS 86 Opel ADAM R2 RC4B R2
48 Claude Carret / Olivier Mathias F 38 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5
49 Hervé Knapick / Marie-Laure Lemonnier-Peu F 50 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5
50 Mickael Boisseranc / Quentin Giroud F 87 Ford Fiesta R2T RC4B R2
51 Yoann Reymond / Marine Delon F 93 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
52 Renaud Dolce / Jean-Pierre Ayasse F 81 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
53 (BMA) Bertrand Pierrat / Aurélia Chevalier F 43 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5
54 Jérémy Caradec / Cédric Amoros F 61 Renault Clio R3 Maxi RC3 R3
55 Renault Sport Technologies Olivier Courtois / Hubert Risser F 65 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
56 Marco Blanc / Luca Lattanzi I 78 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
57 Richard Desbordes / Steven Desbordes F 95 Citroën DS3 R1 RC5 R1
58 Enrico Brazzoli / Manuel Fenoli I 56 Fiat 124 Abarth Rally RGT RGT RGT RGT
59 Gilles Michellier / Christophe Richard F 90 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
60 Sébastien Rambaud / Ophélie Abchiche F 85 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
61 Benjamin Duhamel / Patrick Therry F 98 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1
62 Nikos Pavlidis / Allan Harryman GR/GB 72 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
63 Laure Jaussaud / Carine Jaussaud F 74 Renault Twingo RS R2 RC4B R2
64 Henk Vossen / Erwin Berkhof NL 40 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
65 Claude Bensimon / Isabelle Barbé F 83 Ford Fiesta R2T RC4B R2
66 Philippe Rageau / Alexandra Rageau F 60 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
67 Carlo Covi / Pietro Elia Ometto I 75 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
68 Sébastien Martinez / Paulo Santos F 88 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
69 Alain Mari / Jean-Dominique Cesari F 99 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1
70 Pascal Eouzan / Pascale Eouzan F 92 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
71 Paul Gardère / Jean-Louis Bufferne F 82 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
72 Olivier Desmoulins / Vincent Delaplanche F 67 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T
73 Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio / Filippo Bordignon I 77 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
74 Stéphane Clair / Alain Kanbelle F 68 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
75 Lilian Vialle / Manuel Ghirardello F 64 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3
76 Ian Crerar / Christina Kröner CDN 57 Porsche 997 Carrera RGT RGT RGT RGT
77 Jean-Marie Mavounzy / Damien Augustin F 84 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
78 Andrea Coti Zelati / Emanuela Revello I 63 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T
79 Christophe Berard / Christophe Bernabo F 97 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1
80 Rachele Somaschini / Sergio Marchetti I 62 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T
81 Ermanno Dionisio / Fabio Grimaldi I 91 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4B R2
82 Marc Dessi / Pamela Dessi MC 80 Ford Fiesta R2 RC4B R2
83 Davide Riccio / Monica Cicognini I 44 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
84 Roberto Antonucci / Herbert Antonucci I 96 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1

https://twitter.com/SebOgier/status/1088706746862972935

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088694546718998529

https://twitter.com/OfficialWRC/status/1088713884884705280

SS 4: Sébastien Loeb had a rear-left puncture, but it was close to the end.

SS 4: Nicolas Ciamin had a puncture. Stopped and was forced to change a wheel. Lost over 3 minutes.

SS 4: Ole Christian Veiby stopped at the 4,1 km mark. Had a puncture and lost at least 1.40 minutes.

https://twitter.com/OCVeiby/status/1088746795025481728

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088741709633241090

SS 5: Kris Meeke lost boost for the last 5kms of the stage, bacause the front of car´s grill got filled with leaves.

https://twitter.com/SebOgier/status/1088772314894880769

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088767114557706240

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088774100804386816

SS 6: Thierry Neuville went the wrong way! The road splits into two paths and Thierry’s speed carries him down to the right rather than going left. Spinned round and gets back going again. Lost about 15 seconds.

https://twitter.com/thierryneuville/status/1088799053851308032

SS 6: Esapekka Lappi hit a rock, had a broken driveshaft and wishbone. Retired -> Rally 2

https://twitter.com/EsapekkaLappi/status/1088812676002840576

SS 6: Pontus Tidemand stopped at the 13,6 km mark. Hit something and had a broken wishbone. Retired -> Rally 2

https://twitter.com/PontusTidemand/status/1088816031953571841

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1088801890148802560

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1088817608890220555

SS 7: Ott Tänak had a puncture and stopped to change the tyre. Lost over 2 minutes.

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1088818287629213696

SS 7: Kris Meeke broke another rim and stopped to change the tyre. Lost almost 4 minutes.

https://twitter.com/krismeeke/status/1088544661373890560

SS 8: Kris Meeke had no front-left damper through this stage.

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1088846254891782144

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088863471381430272

 

https://twitter.com/SebOgier/status/1088854851885371393

https://twitter.com/JariMattiWRC/status/1088862568767279104

https://twitter.com/OttTanak/status/1088863013686398977

https://twitter.com/krismeeke/status/1088853702293815296

https://twitter.com/PontusTidemand/status/1088875679368785920

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1088875423365242881

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1088907939912519681

 

 

Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier has moved into the lead of Rallye Monte-Carlo at the end of the first full day of competition, but the Frenchman has just two-seconds in hand to Thierry Neuville after a total of eight tricky mountain stages. Andreas Mikkelsen has leapt from fifth at the mid-leg service to third overnight, albeit over a minute adrift already.

The repeated afternoon loop of three stages ran without problems and Ogier closed the gap to Neuville in the opening stage to just 1.4 seconds having set joint fastest time with Jari-Matti Latvala. While the Frenchman didn’t win either of the following stages, a consistent but cautious pace maintained his advantage heading into Saturday. Neuville dropped at least 15 seconds in the first stage when the car wouldn’t turn in and he had to spin his Hyundai back onto the right road. Otherwise, the Belgian has had a good day and high confidence in the last stage helped him reel in another fastest time. Mikkelsen is exercising a degree of caution and has had a clean run, overhauling Ott Tänak and Sebastien Loeb during the afternoon loop.

Latvala took a safe tyre choice which helped him equal Ogier’s fastest SS6 time and the Finn is just 7.4 seconds adrift of Mikkelsen. Loeb knew he would struggle with his tyres on the first stage, gambling on gaining in the following two. He set another fastest time in the middle stage to rocket from seventh to third, only to drop back to fifth in the final stage. He is however only eight-tenths of a second off Latvala. Elfyn Evans had a great feeling in the middle stage but had to take it easy over the icy sections in the final stage; he is sixth, 21.6 seconds behind Loeb. After a great start and the rally lead last night, Tänak is now seventh having stopped to change a puncture which dropped him from third. Kris Meeke had a frustrating afternoon, sustaining another broken rim and a broken damper as a consequence. The Northern Irish driver nevertheless remains upbeat, confident the speed has been there.

Gus Greensmith has now moved into ninth overall and leads the newly-created FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship. He is trading fastest times with Kalle Rovanperä but continues to have a healthy advantage after the Finn lost time off the road last night. Yoann Bonato is also inside the top 10, leading WRC 2 in his Citroen C3 R5. He won one of the afternoon’s three stages and heads Adrien Fourmaux by nearly two minutes.

The leading retirements of the afternoon were Esapekka Lappi and Pontus Tidemand. Lappi hit a rock, damaged a wheel and broke the wishbone and driveshaft, which Tidemand was also forced out with a broken wishbone.

Results after Section 3

1 Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia Citroen C3 WRC 1hr 37min 17.3sec
2 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1hr 37min 19.3sec
3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jǽger Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1hr 38min 35.0sec
4 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC 1hr 38min 42.4sec
5 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1hr 38min 43.2sec
6 Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin Ford Fiesta WRC 1hr 39min 04.8sec
7 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC 1hr 39min 52.2sec
8 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC 1hr 42min 50.3sec
9 Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson Ford Fiesta R5 1hr 44min 17.4sec
10 Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud Citroen C3 R5 1hr 44min 24.0sec

Day 2, TzRallye0412

7:37 Service E (Gap) – 15 min
8:48 SS 9 Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps 1 (29,82 km)
10:06 SS 10 Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve 1 (16,87 km)
11:06 First car arrives for service and Technical Zone, Gap
11:21 Service F (Gap) – 30 Min
12:47 SS 11 Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps 2 (29,82 km)
14:08 SS 12 Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve 2 (16,87 km)
15:08 First car arrives for regroup, service and Technical Zone, Gap
15:18 Service G (Gap) – 48 Min
‘Meet the Crews’, (Gap), Service Park, During the 48′ service
20:06 Parc Fermé, Monaco (In)

Competitive distance: 93,38 km (Liaison 464,14 km, Total 557,52 km)

Sunrise 8:01 (Gap)
Sunset 17:34 (Gap)

The starting order:

x

https://twitter.com/MSportLtd/status/1089059399203782656

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089056328604151808

https://twitter.com/JariMattiWRC/status/1089060944905490432

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089059834362769408

SS 9: Pontus Tidemand stopped at the 11 km mark. Had a puncture and changed the tyre. Lost almost 2.30 minutes.

https://twitter.com/PontusTidemand/status/1089075059283689472

SS 9: Esapekka Lappi stopped at the 15,5 km mark, pulled the car into an access road. Had some engine issues. Retired

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089088628691816448

SS 9: Elfyn Evans drove 16 km with a puncture. Lost almost 1 minute.

https://twitter.com/MSportLtd/status/1089076885617868800

SS 9: Andreas Mikkelsen touched the wall just before the flying finish and ripped the entire corner off the car and lost the wheel. Retired

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089078718000218113

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089080248447176705

SS 10: Elfyn Evans went a bit wide on a fast left-hander at the 1,3 km mark and off the road. Retired

https://twitter.com/MSportLtd/status/1089098007457468416

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089094996467347456

 

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089111045086556160

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089114274117664769

https://twitter.com/Michelin_Sport/status/1089077196008972288

 

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089139238103334913

SS 12: Yoann Bonato had a broken front-right tyre and was forced to drive on the rim the end of the stage.

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089157785395318784

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089175861780205569

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1089195609469472770

https://twitter.com/SebOgier/status/1089176221638893568

https://twitter.com/thierryneuville/status/1089159848351227904

Sebastien Ogier has maintained his Rallye Monte-Carlo lead after Saturday morning’s two stages and the Frenchman has marginally extended his advantage over Thierry Neuville, the rivals still only split by 5.3 seconds. Jari-Matti Latvala has moved up into third, following the retirement of Andreas Mikkelsen.

Today’s route, which ultimately takes the crews to Monaco this evening, takes in two repeated loops of two stages covering 93.38 competitive kilometres. Tyre choices were more straight-forward today and Ogier went into the loop adopting a cautious approach. He immediately took 3.6 seconds out of Neuville in the opener and while the Belgian attempted to strike back in the second stage, he was unable to significantly close the gap. Neuville admitted his tyre choice was not the best in the second stage but was happy with his performance otherwise.

Behind them, the battle for third was intense but ultimately swung in Latvala’s favour. The Finn had a good feeling with the Yaris and from fifth this morning moved into fourth after the first stage when Andreas Mikkelsen was forced to retire at the end of the stage having taken a wheel off when he hit a wall. Sebastien Loeb initially moved into third after SS9 but then dropped behind Latvala when he stalled at the start of the next stage. He and Latvala are now just 4.7 seconds apart going into the afternoon’s repeated loop.

Ott Tänak has also moved up the leaderboard courtesy of two fastest times, and retirements, the Estonian lucky to escape after nearly going off the road in SS10. Kris Meeke is in sixth, managing his pace and focusing on points in the Power Stage tomorrow such is the gap to fifth position.

Gus Greensmith is seventh and leading the FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship ahead of Kalle Rovanperä, the rivals each winning one of the morning stages. Yoann Bonato has also maintained his WRC 2 Championship lead and heads Guillaume de Mevius by over two minutes.

In addition to Mikkelsen, Esapekka Lappi was forced into retirement with an unconfirmed technical issue, and Elfyn Evans went off the road.

—————

Sébastien Ogier is still the leader of Rallye Monte-Carlo after Saturday’s second loop on the icy mountain roads north of Gap. But the five-time event winner only maintains a slim 4.3 second advantage over his closest rival, Thierry Neuville, after two full days of competition. Sébastien Loeb has moved into third overall ahead of the grand finale around Monaco.

Once again, conditions were mixed with snow, ice and dry asphalt over 46 competitive kilometres – a repeated loop of the morning stages. This made the tyre choice particularly critical for all the crews. Ogier, using super soft tyres, said he felt more comfortable as conditions became drier, allowing him to push even harder.

But it was Toyota that dominated Saturday afternoon’s action with Ott Tänak and Kris Meeke setting a strong team performance, finishing first and second respectively on the two stages.

Sébastien Loeb showed great consistency, setting the fifth fastest time in both stages to move into third after another very tight battle with Jari-Matti Latvala. The Finn, who keeps his fourth place, enjoyed the fight but was unhappy with his driving.

Tänak’s gamble on four non-studded winter tyres seemed to pay off as he was the fastest on both stages. The flying Estonian was the only one of the World Rally Car drivers to make this bold choice. He ends Saturday in sixth place in the provisional ranking ahead of his team mate Kris Meeke.

Gus Greensmith keeps seventh spot in the overnight results and the lead of the FIA WRC 2 Pro category, with a gap of more than a minute and a half over the next competitor, Yoann Bonato, leader of WRC 2.

Stephane Sarrazin and Guillaume de Mevius complete Rallye Monte-Carlo’s top 10 overnight, both at the wheel of WRC 2 cars.

After one last service in the French city of Gap, the crews will make their way to Monaco. The scene is now set for a thrilling showdown tomorrow, which includes the classic Col de Turini stage.

Results after Section 5

1 Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia Citroen C3 WRC 2hr 38min 30.0sec
2 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2hr 38min 34.3sec
3 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2hr 40min 28.7sec
4 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC 2hr 40min 31.0sec
5 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC 2hr 40min 46.0sec
6 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC 2hr 43min 56.8sec
7 Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson Ford Fiesta R5 2hr 48min 42.0sec
8 Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud Citroen C3 R5 2hr 50min 13.4sec
9 Stephane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci Hyundai i20 R5 2hr 50min 46.0sec
10 Guillaume de Mevius / Martijn Wydaeghe Citroen C3 R5 2hr 51min 37.0sec

SS 11-12, FIA World Rally Championship

WRC2 Highlights Saturday, FIA World Rally Championship

Day 3, Michelin Motorsport

Day 3,  TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC

Day 3, Palbo46 Rally & Racing Videos

Day 3, RivieraRallynet

Day 3, Ouhla lui

Day 3, Rallyciak

Sunday, 27 January

6:22 Parc Fermé, Monaco (Out)
8:20 SS 13 La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava 1 (18,41 km)
9:08 SS 14 La Cabanette – Col de Braus 1 (13,58 km)
10:55 SS 15 La Bollène Vésubie – Peira Cava 2 (18,41 km)
11:25 Regroup, Peïra-Cava
12:18 SS 16 La Cabanette – Col de Braus 2 Power Stage (13,58 km)
13:48 First car arrives for Technical Zone
13:58 Parc Fermé, Monaco (In), Early check-in allowed
15:00 Prize-Giving and podium ceremony, Place du Palais, Monaco
16:00 FIA Press Conference, Media Centre, Monaco
20:30 Gala Dinner, Sporting MonteCarlo, Monaco

Competitive distance: 63,98 km (Liaison 160,60 km, Total 224,58 km)

Sunrise 7:53 (Monaco)
Sunset 17:33 (Monaco)

Only the 60 first crews classified at the end of the section 5 will be authorized to take the start of sections 6, on Sunday 27th January.

https://twitter.com/ACM_Media/status/1087997457143869440

The starting order:

x

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089418431995265024

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089410196844220417

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089402718236672000

https://twitter.com/MiikkaAnttila/status/1089428317613244416

 

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089430763525885952

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089442184917602304

SS 14: Guillaume de Mevius went off the road. Retired

https://twitter.com/GuillaumeMevius/status/1089455919166033920

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089469609118482432

 

https://twitter.com/Michelin_Sport/status/1089480712863076353

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089494347429621761

https://twitter.com/TGR_WRC/status/1089498778078535685

https://twitter.com/krismeeke/status/1089518128676200448

 

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089497402250285056

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089498083547844609

 

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089495417295900675

https://twitter.com/DanosElena/status/1089517211214143488

https://twitter.com/JariMattiWRC/status/1089574438918598664

 

https://twitter.com/sebmarshall/status/1089572147977244678

https://twitter.com/MSportLtd/status/1089495304762740737

https://twitter.com/MSportLtd/status/1089494244828549120

https://twitter.com/FordPerformance/status/1089552735022862336

https://twitter.com/GreensmithGus/status/1089490079926632448

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089588356063862790

https://twitter.com/yoannbonato/status/1089523032253743105

https://twitter.com/HMSGOfficial/status/1089502820984938496

https://twitter.com/OCVeiby/status/1089508057925763072

https://twitter.com/KalleRovanpera/status/1089491251509035008

 

https://twitter.com/SebOgier/status/1089535326501113856

https://twitter.com/CitroenRacing/status/1089506654524043266

 

https://twitter.com/thierryneuville/status/1089504020581044225

 

https://twitter.com/Citroen/status/1089807839860793344

https://twitter.com/LindaJackson/status/1089550156771545090

https://twitter.com/JeanTodt/status/1089512749644898305

The battle at the top of the standings looks set to go down to the wire in today’s final leg of Rally Monte-Carlo. Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier is still in the lead just two stages away from a sixth consecutive event victory but the Frenchman’s advantage has reduced to only 3.2 seconds over his rival Thierry Neuville. Behind them, Ott Tänak is showing an impressive performance with two stage wins which make him move up 2 places in the overall ranking.

Based out of Monte-Carlo, today’s itinerary has two identical loops of two stages for a total of 63.98 competitive kilometres. To tackle the action in La Bollène-Vésubie – Peïra-Cava (18.41km) and La Cabanette – Col de Braus (13.58km) in snow-free conditions, all the crews chose the same package of five soft tyres.

At the end of the first loop, Ogier reported “a small issue with the car”. Neuville battled hard and took a small amount of time from his rival in each of the two stages, but just like yesterday, it was Ott Tänak who was the real star of the show. After winning both stages, the Estonian moved up from fifth overnight to a provisional podium. Tanak has shown an incredible performance since the beginning of the rally and has claimed seven stage wins out of 14 so far.

The multiple event-winner Sébastien Loeb was quite happy with his run and is now fourth overall, less than three seconds behind Tänak. Only a second behind him in fifth, Jari-Matti Latvala felt he didn’t have a good feeling with his car and said he would change his driving style and the car set-up for the final loop. With no service on Sunday, the crews have to carry any necessary car maintenance themselves.

Kris Meeke kept his sixth position and, with a big gap in front and behind him, he can now focus on the extra championship points available from the Power Stage today.

After their retirement yesterday, the FIA World Rally drivers Andreas Mikkelsen, Esapekka Lappi and Elfyn Evans did not restart this morning, giving room in the top 10 classification to support drivers. Gus Greensmith continues to comfortably lead the FIA WRC 2 Pro category in seventh, ahead of WRC 2 leader Yoann Bonato in eighth. Stephane Sarrazin holds ninth, while Adrien Fourmaux moved up to 10th (and third in WRC 2).

The reigning FIA World Rally Champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia claimed their sixth victory in a row on Rallye Monte-Carlo at the end of a thrilling season opener which held the crowds of spectators spellbound.

Ogier won the rally by only 2.2 seconds ahead of Thierry Neuville, having started the final Power Stage with a fragile lead of 0.4 seconds. On the event’s final day, the Frenchman had to battle a defaulting throttle which affected the behaviour of the car. Nonetheless, he finished second on the Power Stage, 1.7 second faster than Neuville, to claim the championship’s lead on his first rally back with Citroen. It was also the manufacturer’s 100th WRC win, in the company’s 100th anniversary year.

Neuville fought hard in the intense battle at the front but he admitted that he definitely gave Ogier a bit of a present on Friday when he made a small mistake in SS7. The Belgian’s little consolation is that he won’t be opening the road at the next event in Sweden.

On the Monte-Carlo podium for the third consecutive year was Ott Tänak. The Estonian was the leader of the rally up to the end of SS3 and scored seven stage wins in total over the course of the event, beating Sébastien Loeb and Jari-Matti Latvala in the fight for the podium.

Loeb, a seven-time winner on Rallye Monte-Carlo with his long-time partner Citroën, was putting his Hyundai car to the test for the first time. The Frenchman, who had just returned from the Dakar Rally in Peru, set two fastest stage times and finished fourth overall.

Latvala was fifth, dropping in the rankings on the final day. The Finn said he wasn’t feeling happy with his driving and the set-up of the car.

His new team mate Kris Meeke finished sixth in his Toyota debut after facing tyre trouble on Saturday. Nonetheless, the driver from Northern Ireland won the final Power Stage to secure five bonus points, which put him fourth in the championship.

Gus Greensmith from Great-Britain claimed seventh overall as well as the winner’s spot for M-Sport Ford WRT in the newly created FIA WRC 2 Pro category, one place ahead of Yoann Bonato in eighth, who took the FIA WRC 2 win. Stephane Sarrazin and Adrien Formaux completed the top 10.

Retirements included Esapekka Lappi, who faced mechanical problems, as well as Andreas Mikkelsen and Elfyn Evans, who both made driving mistakes.

Next up on the FIA Rally Championship calendar is Rally Sweden from 14 to 17 February, a classic winter event that ventures deep into the frozen and remote forests of Sweden and Norway.

Final results

1 Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia Citroen C3 WRC 3hr 21min 15.9sec
2 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 3hr 21min 18.1sec
3 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC 3hr 23min 31.1sec
4 Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 3hr 23min 44.1sec
5 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC 3hr 23min 45.8sec
6 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall Toyota Yaris WRC 3hr 26min 52.1sec
7 Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson Ford Fiesta R5 3hr 34min 20.5sec
8 Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud Citroen C3 R5 3hr 35min 12.4sec
9 Stephane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci Hyundai i20 R5 3hr 35min 22.7sec
10 Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul Ford Fiesta R5 3hr 37min 19.3sec

SS 13-14, FIA World Rally Championship

WRC2 Highlights, FIA World Rally Championship

Highlights, Michelin Motorsport

Review, Hyundai Motorsport

Day 4,  TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC

Highlights, Citroën Racing

Highlights, Anthony Bailet

Highlights, Palbo46 Rally & Racing Videos

Day 4, RivieraRallynet

Highlights, Ouhla lui

Day 4, Rallyciak

Highlights, Video2rallye83

Highlights, Cliowilli96

Highlights, TzRallye0412

RESULTS

  ENTRANT (TEAM) DRIVER/CODRIVER NAT. NR CAR GR   TIME  
1 Citroën Total W.R.T. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia F 1 Citroën C3 WRC RC1 WRC 3:21:15.9 M
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul B 11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC 3:21:18.1 M
3 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja EE 8 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC 3:23:31.1 M
4 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena F/MC 19 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC 3:23:44.1 M
5 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila FIN 10 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC 3:23:45.8 M
6 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall GB 5 Toyota Yaris WRC RC1 WRC 3:26:52.1 M
7 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson GB 21 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 3:34:20.5 WRC2 PRO
8 Citroën Total (CHL Sport Auto) Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud F 22 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 3:35:12.4 WRC2
9 (Sarrazin Motorsport) Stéphane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci F 34 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5 3:35:22.7
10 Team France FFSA Rallye (M-Sport Poland) Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul F/B 26 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 3:37:19.3 WRC2
11 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen FIN 3 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC 3:39:12.7 SR M
12 (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing) Ole Christian Veiby / Jonas Andersson N/S 23 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 3:39:29.1 WRC2
13 Tommi Mäkinen Racing (MM-Motorsport) Takamoto Katsuta / Daniel Barrit J/GB 31 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 3:41:13.8
14 (Taylors Motorsport Ltd) Rhys Yates / Denis Giraudet GB 29 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:42:10.8 WRC2
15 (BMAutosport) Olivier Burri / Anderson Levratti CH/F 32 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:43:23.0
16 THX Racing (DG Sport) Nicolas Ciamin / Yannick Roche F 24 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 3:43:33.2 WRC2
17 (Balvosca s.r.l.) Matteo Gamba / Nicola Arena I 47 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 3:46:13.0
18 ŠKODA Motorsport (TGS Worldwide) Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen FIN 30 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:47:48.3 WRC2 PRO
19 New Turbomark (Balvosca s.r.l.) Davide Caffoni / Massimo Minazzi I 48 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:48:41.0
20 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene S/N 7 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC 3:50:50.5 SR M
21 Alessandro Gino / Danilo Fappani I 49 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:51:13.0
22 Philippe Baffoun / Mathieu Maurin F 46 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:53:31.6
23 Nicolas Hernandez / Kévin Bronner F 45 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:54:57.3
24 Manuel Villa / Daniele Michi I 35 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:55:18.5 WRC2
25 Eamonn Boland / Michael Joseph Morrissey IRL 39 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 3:55:32.2
26 Silvano Patera / Maurizio Barone I 54 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:55:35.3
27 Yohan Rossel / Benoît Fulcrand F 79 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 3:56:19.1
28 Tiziano Gecchele / Mauro Peruzzi I 52 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 3:57:37.1
29 Nicolas Latil / Romain Roche F 70 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 3:58:23.6
30 Mauro Miele / Luca Beltrame I 20 Citroën DS3 WRC RC1 WRC 3:59:33.4 SR
31 Damien Oberti / Thomas Escartefigue F 94 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 3:59:49.0
32 Thibaut Poizot / Marion Grand F 76 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:01:08.5
33 Laurent Scherrer / Romuald Dupont F 71 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:06:26.0
34 Jean-Michel Raoux / Victor Bellotto F 36 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 4:06:50.8
35 Renaud Dolce / Jean-Pierre Ayasse F 81 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:07:05.7
36 Cédric Durand / Caroline Mazet F 69 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3 4:08:35.3
37 Andrea Nucita / Giuseppe Princiotto I 53 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5 4:09:25.5 SR
38 (BMA) Bertrand Pierrat / Aurélia Chevalier F 43 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 RC2 R5 4:10:15.2
39 Renault Sport Technologies Olivier Courtois / Hubert Risser F 65 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3 4:10:18.0
40 Jérémy Caradec / Cédric Amoros F 61 Renault Clio R3 Maxi RC3 R3 4:10:55.3
41 Enrico Brazzoli / Manuel Fenoli I 56 Fiat 124 Abarth Rally RGT RGT RGT 4:12:13.7 RGT
42 Mickael Boisseranc / Quentin Giroud F 87 Ford Fiesta R2T RC4 R2 4:16:46.2
43 Davide Riccio / Monica Cicognini I 44 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 4:16:50.2 SR
44 Henk Vossen / Erwin Berkhof NL 40 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 4:17:32.6
45 Marco Blanc / Luca Lattanzi I 78 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:18:26.6
46 Philippe Rageau / Alexandra Rageau F 60 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3 4:19:15.3
47 Lilian Vialle / Manuel Ghirardello F 64 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3 4:21:22.0
48 Richard Desbordes / Steven Desbordes F 95 Citroën DS3 R1 RC5 R1 4:22:40.9
49 Nikos Pavlidis / Allan Harryman GR/GB 72 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:23:29.8
50 Gilles Michellier / Christophe Richard F 90 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:24:35.6
51 Sébastien Rambaud / Ophélie Abchiche F 85 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:26:13.1
52 Laure Jaussaud / Carine Jaussaud F 74 Renault Twingo RS R2 RC4 R2 4:26:33.6
53 Paul Gardère / Jean-Louis Bufferne F 82 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:28:09.6
54 Sébastien Martinez / Paulo Santos F 88 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:28:35.2
55 Carlo Covi / Pietro Elia Ometto I 75 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:28:57.9
56 Alain Mari / Jean-Dominique Cesari F 99 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1 4:31:12.6
57 Benjamin Duhamel / Patrick Therry F 98 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1 4:32:39.4
58 Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio / Filippo Bordignon I 77 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:48:26.1
59 Pascal Eouzan / Pascale Eouzan F 92 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:48:54.3
60 Stéphane Clair / Alain Kanbelle F 68 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3 4:52:57.0
61 Jean-Marie Mavounzy / Damien Augustin F 84 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 4:55:57.0
62 Andrea Coti Zelati / Emanuela Revello I 63 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T 4:55:58.7
63 Rachele Somaschini / Sergio Marchetti I 62 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T 4:59:33.2
64 Christophe Berard / Christophe Bernabo F 97 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1 4:59:40.1
65 Claude Bensimon / Isabelle Barbé F 83 Ford Fiesta R2T RC4 R2 5:02:40.4
66 Marc Dessi / Pamela Dessi MC 80 Ford Fiesta R2 RC4 R2 5:12:51.9
67 Olivier Desmoulins / Vincent Delaplanche F 67 Citroën DS3 R3T RC3 R3T 5:17:28.2
  LEADING RETIREMENTS SS=Special Stage
SS ENTRANT (TEAM) DRIVER/CODRIVER NAT. NR CAR GR   CAUSE  
1 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen FIN 3 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC accident M
6,9 Citroën Total W.R.T. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm FIN 4 Citroën C3 WRC RC1 WRC hit a rock -> driveshaft & wishbone, engine M
6 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene S/N 7 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC wishbone M
10 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin GB 33 Ford Fiesta WRC RC1 WRC accident M
9 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger N 89 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC RC1 WRC lost a wheel M
  Mauro Miele / Luca Beltrame I 20 Citroën DS3 WRC RC1 WRC
14 (DG Sport) Guillaume de Mevius / Martijn Wydaeghe B 25 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 accident WRC2
11 Grégoire Munster / Louis Louka LUX/B 27 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 accident damage WRC2
12 “Pedro” / Emanuele Baldaccini I 28 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5 accident WRC2
7,9 Claude Carret / Olivier Mathias F 38 ŠKODA Fabia R5 RC2 R5 mechanical
4 Marco Paccagnella / Michele Ferrara I 42 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 accident
2 Davide Riccio / Monica Cicognini I 44 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5
5 Hervé Knapick / Marie-Laure Lemonnier-Peu F 50 Citroën C3 R5 RC2 R5 mechanical
7 Claudio Marenco / Luca Pieri I 51 Ford Fiesta R5 RC2 R5 driver ill
2,7 Andrea Nucita / Giuseppe Princiotto I 53 Hyundai i20 R5 RC2 R5
10 Ian Crerar / Christina Kröner CDN 57 Porsche 997 Carrera RGT RGT RGT accident damage RGT
11 Federico Gasperetti / Federico Ferrari I 66 Renault Clio R3 RC3 R3 accident
15 Frédéric Fortunato / Lionel Neto F 73 Citroën C2 R2 Max RC4 R2 mechanical
15 Timo van der Marel / Rebecca van der Marel-Smart NL/AUS 86 Opel ADAM R2 RC4 R2 mechanical
13 Ermanno Dionisio / Fabio Grimaldi I 91 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 mechanical
13 Yoann Reymond / Marine Delon F 93 Peugeot 208 R2 RC4 R2 mechanical
13 Roberto Antonucci / Herbert Antonucci I 96 Renault Twingo RS R1 RC5 R1 excluded
STARTERS 84 (2 WRC2 Pro, 9 WRC2, 2 RGT) FINISHERS 67 (2 WRC2 Pro, 6 WRC2, 1 RGT)     WINNER´S AVER. SPEED     kph
  RALLY LEADERS SS 1-3 Tänak, 4-6 Neuville, 7-16 Ogier
  WRC2 Pro SS 1-16 Greensmith
  WRC2 SS 1-16 Bonato
  RC2 SS 1-7 Bonato, 8-16 Greensmith
  RGT SS 1-16 Brazzoli
  RC3 SS 1-8 Durand, 9-10 Gasperetti, 11-16 Durand
  RC4 SS 1 Rossel,3-5 Latil, 6-16 Rossel
   
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6 THE ROUTE   SS   DISTANCE, km  
Ott Tänak 7 1 2 1 1 1
  Thierry Neuville 3 4 3 3 2 0
Sébastien Ogier 2 3 7 1 2 0
  Sébastien Loeb 2 0 0 1 4 2
Kris Meeke 1 4 0 4 2 0
  Jari-Matti Latvala 1 1 2 1 2 4
Elfyn Evans 0 1 0 0 0 4
  Andreas Mikkelsen 0 0 1 3 0 1
Teemu Suninen 0 0 0 1 2 2
  Esapekka Lappi 0 0 0 0 1 0
 
  WRC2
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6
  Kalle Rovanperä 10 5 0 0 0 0
  Gus Greensmith 6 9 0 0 0 0
 
  WRC2
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6
  Yoann Bonato 6 3 2 2 2 0
  Nicolas Ciamin 5 2 3 0 0 1
  Guillaume de Mevius 3 2 3 2 2 0
  Adrien Fourmaux 1 2 1 6 4 1
  Ole Christian Veiby 0 6 4 0 3 2
  Rhys Yates 0 0 2 2 3 5
  Grégoire Munster 0 0 0 2 1 3
  Manuel Villa 0 0 0 1 0 3
 
  RC2
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6
  Kalle Rovanperä 5 1 5 0 0 0
  Nicolas Ciamin 4 2 2 1 1 0
  Gus Greensmith 4 1 1 3 0 2
  Stéphane Sarrazin 1 4 2 2 4 0
  Yoann Bonato 1 4 1 1 2 3
  Guillaume de Mevius 1 1 2 1 2 2
  Ole Christian Veiby 0 1 1 2 4 3
  Adrien Fourmaux 0 0 1 1 1 4
  Andrea Nucita 0 0 0 4 1 0
  Rhys Yates 0 0 0 0 0 1
   
  RGT
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6
  Enrico Brazzoli 15 0 0 0 0 0
  Ian Crerar 0 8 0 0 0 0
 
  RC3
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6
  Cédric Durand 11 1 1 1 0 0
  Olivier Courtois 3 2 6 4 0 0
  Philippe Rageau 1 0 0 5 3 5
  Federico Gasperetti 0 8 1 0 0 0
  Jérémy Caradec 0 4 7 4 0 0
  Lilian Vialle 0 0 0 1 10 1
  Andrea Coti Zelati 0 0 0 0 1 3
  Olivier Desmoulins 0 0 0 0 1 2
 
  RC4
  SPECIAL STAGE POSITIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6
  Yohan Rossel 8 3 2 0 0 1
  Nicolas Latil 4 5 2 1 1 2
  Damien Oberti 2 3 6 1 1 0
  Timo van der Marel 1 0 2 2 2 2
  Thibaut Poizot 0 2 1 4 4 1
  Frédéric Fortunato 0 2 0 7 1 2
  Renaud Dolce 0 0 1 1 1 2
  Laurent Scherrer 0 0 1 0 3 3
  Ermanno Dionisio 0 0 0 0 1 0
Sébastien Rambaud 0 0 0 0 0 2

2019 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR DRIVERS AFTER ROUND 1:

1 Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia F Citroën C3 WRC 29
2 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul B Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 21
3 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja EE Toyota Yaris WRC 17
4 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall GB Toyota Yaris WRC 13
5 Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena F/MC Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 12
6 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila FIN Toyota Yaris WRC 10
7 Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson GB Ford Fiesta R5 6
8 Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud F Citroën C3 R5 4
9 Stéphane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci F Hyundai i20 R5 2
10 Adrien Fourmaux / Renaud Jamoul F/B Ford Fiesta R5 1
11 Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen FIN Ford Fiesta WRC 1

2019 FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MANUFACTURERS AFTER ROUND 1:

1 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai (Neuville, Loeb) 30
2 Citroën Total W.R.T. Citroën (Ogier) 25
3 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT TOYOTA (Tänak,Latvala) 25
4 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford (Suninen,Tidemand) 14

https://twitter.com/rallyparadise/status/1089960737831878656

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Rallye Monte Carlo
Post-event Press Conference
Sunday 27th January

Present:
1st – Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT
1st – Julien Ingrassia, Citroën Total WRT
2nd – Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
2nd – Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT
3rd – Ott Tänak, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
3rd – Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
Pierre Budar, Team Principal, Citroën Total WRT

Q:
Congratulations on sealing the first win of the season and claiming Citroen’s 100th WRC victory; what a thriller the final day has been. What was the feeling at the stage end when you realised you’d clinched the win?
SO:
I will say this is a very nice symbol on top of the cake, but for sure the most important thing is to start the season this way. There are not too many people betting on me, even though I win many times. It’s never easy to start with a new car. I am very pleased – I think you have seen that at the end of the last stage.

Q:
You were quite emotional, that’s rare…
SO:
It is rare. It makes me happy. It’s not too many times [especially in the early stages of my career] I was not enjoying enough. This one I enjoy. And it’s thanks to him (Thierry Neuville) and Nicolas [Gilsoul]. At the end of this kind of fight it brings a bigger emotion and the anticipation adds to that and it comes out at the final stop point. There was a lot of emotion.

Q:
You had a throttle issue today, when did you discover that? Did you think it would spoil the party?
SO:
Actually it started yesterday night on the road section and I started to get a strange reaction on the throttle when I was lifting – the car was going on with 20 per cent of pedal. It was not so nice, especially on stage mode. It could be tricky, we tried to check everything we could – it looks like a sensor is a bit crazy. Luckily it was still working some times, but it can catch you by surprise, so it’s also dangerous. Finally, we managed some small fix, it was not 100 per cent but at least we could finish the rally and give a last push on the power stage to keep the win. It was another busy day for my heart! The win was difficult to reach but also I didn’t know if I would finish. The sensor could be gone and this would be a bigger drama and that also adds to the emotion.

Q:
What was that final stage like?
SO:
I did a good final stage. I tried to push. It’s difficult to push more than 100 per cent in a new car. I know Citroen is good in these conditions, but it reacts different to the one (car) I was used to in the last years. I gave everything I had. Kris [Meeke] was even faster, but this doesn’t matter – in this moment, it’s enough to win the rally. It’s great to start with Citroen this way.

Q:
Julien, you and Seb have had such a successful run at this event and now join Walter Röhrl in becoming the only crew to win the event with four manufacturers. A big achievement!
JI:
Yeah, but you see it takes a few seconds to wonder if we did it. You look for people and their reaction. When I saw Seb’s dad smile and I knew it’s done, then there was a big emotion. Everything was brand new, but in the end it’s many years that I’ve been missing a bit of Sunday, time when I would maybe go to church. My hair starts to be a bit white with these kind of rallies…

SO:
Mine is even more white!

JI:
If people were wondering if this season would be the same challenge and as exciting, I think they have their answer straight away.

Q:
And good to be back with Citroen?
JI:
I’m very happy with this new challenge and to be together with this team after we had some nice success with Malcolm [Wilson, M-Sport]. Now we turn the page and if I think of Citroen in terms of life, it was so long time ago and so much has happened in our careers since 2011. I’m with a new team and we have to write a new page of our history together.

Q:
Thierry, we’ve seen a flat out fight from you but it wasn’t quite enough to catch Seb. Great points on the board to start the season though.
TN:
This time we found somebody stronger. If I remember back in Sardinia, we were able to win the challenge, but this time it was a bit more difficult. This morning we were more than four seconds [behind] and I expect them to be fast on such roads. We closed the gap and put pressure on him, but the result in the end is not what we wanted. But in the end, it is important points.

Q:
What was that feeling like while you waited for him to come through?
TN:
To be honest, the feeling ahead of the stage was really good. On the previous stage the car was working so well. I had to drive and be efficient. Towards the end of the stage I struggled with the brakes. When there was a lot of grip and less ice then we see the Toyota is very strong. Crossing the line we knew probably this would not be enough, but we have to thank the gravel crew. These were such demanding conditions for us to stay on the road, but also for them to give us all the changes and not too much information. It was a good collaboration and a lot of stress.

Q:
Second on the road in Sweden, how much confidence do you take to the next round?
TN:
Last year we saw the first car on the road struggled a lot. I hope the conditions can be a bit better this time. I know the main goal will be to be ahead of our main rivals.

Q
Nicolas, how do you feel?
NG:
For sure like everybody knows, Monte Carlo can be a very demanding rally for the co-driver, it’s close to a nightmare! So much detail, sometimes you can have three lines [from the gravel crew] to add to the notes for one corner. But like Thierry said, they did a marvelous job with only sleeping for a few hours. Thanks a lot to them.

Q:
How did you perform out there? What was the experience like?
NG:
It’s always the same in Monte. We stay one and a half months with no driving, so we are really excited to be back in the car. But it’s so specific with the studded tyres on the dry Tarmac. We experimented, we had a stall in the road and we were lucky we were able to restart. I’m lost a little bit now…
TN:
That’s a first time for him!

Q:
Ott, Thursday night you led the rally but slipped back on Friday. Saturday saw you storm to every stage win and today you blasted away the competition. Are you satisfied with your result?
OT:
I’m not sure we can say satisfied. It’s been a really good event, but in the end I must say on Friday we really struggled. I’m not sure we could have gained more than what we have now, even without the puncture. Thierry and Seb do really well in the tricky conditions and then we had the cancelled stage and we wore the tyres. It was going a bit like this, then we had the puncture and it started to work against us. But no worries, since Saturday morning we had a good run and had a good feeling. The team did a great job and the car was great. We did nothing wrong, but sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly and on another day it does work.

Q:
You must have been happy with yesterday’s pace?
OT:
You can see the pace is there when everything works for us as it should. On Saturday we could do everything right. The tyre combination was always right and in the afternoon we did a small difference to the others. But already we were three minutes behind and 30 or 40 seconds to catch the car ahead. If it would have been the wrong choice for the tyre then we would have lost 10 or 15 seconds, but actually we gained a couple of seconds and that meant we could fight today.

Q:
You took no studs yesterday afternoon?
OT:
Yes. I got the call from my driver Martin [Kangur, ice note crew driver] and he advised: “You should try something different… there’s five kilometres of ice, so if you are brave enough you could manage.” OK I could be more safe, but if the weather changes we could benefit. I feel it was melting a little bit the ice, and these few seconds were exactly what we needed to keep the pressure. This is exactly what we needed.

Q:
You talked about a fancy moment in one stage, any more of those?
OT:
Yesterday went smoother, it was not an exciting moment – those kind of moments are not so enjoyable.

Q:
Martin, Saturday made Ott smile…
MJ:
He was good to begin with! This was my third Monte Carlo and it’s not that kind of nightmare – I start to enjoy it. I made an offer to the promoter to make this the first and last round of the year. Maybe the gravel crew are not so happy with this…

Q:
Except for Friday, this was a good event?
MJ:
The speed was always there except Friday. But it was good to work with our engineer, who was new for us. The gravel crew did a good job. Thanks to them.

Q:
Citroen celebrates 100 years of existence and now 100 WRC wins! A successful weekend with an added slice of drama today. What does it mean to the team to achieve this victory today?
PB:
It’s a nice symbol. It means first Citroen and rally are a common history. Winning 100 rallies and 100 years is something strong in the life of the brand and the history of WRC. We have a very strong link between the sport and the Citroen brand.

Q:
Seb said not lot of people bet on him – did you believe he could do it?
PB:
I think only if there was one guy betting on him, it was me – but I think I was not the only one. In the team, for sure, everybody was pushing to try to get the best car for them. They managed to deal with this new car and it was wonderful to see what they could achieve. Monte is so difficult and when you deal with this condition in a new car, it’s very difficult, but I have to say I am very impressed.

Q:
How tense was the throttle problem today?
PB:
Yeah, of course it was quite difficult with no service. When we discovered this problem, we tried to do our best, but at the end of the day we couldn’t do much. It’s one more difficult point to deal with. It was very frustrating for us not to be able to help them and wonder if the problem would be more and more difficult or not. We were very relieved…

Q:
How would you summarise this rally?
PB:
First of all we are happy with this victory, we celebrate this and we are so happy to have Seb and Julien here. But we don’t have to forget we have lot of work to do. Remember what Esapekka [Lappi] and Janne [Ferm] had. We work to fix any problems around this car today for Seb and yesterday for Esapekka. It’s not only here for Monte Carlo we want to win, we have another goal for this year, I already mention the fight will be very difficult this year. We have to make some strong work in-house – this has started already today with Esapekka’s engine.

FIA WRC 2 PRO CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st – Gus Greensmith, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
1st – Elliott Edmondson, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Q:
Gus congratulations on your first WRC 2 Pro win. What better place to achieve your first international win than at Rallye Monte-Carlo, how are you feeling?
GG:
It was pretty good. It still hasn’t not sunk in yet, I’m just processing it. I’ve been knocking on the door of this for a while and we missed some opportunities last year that I shouldn’t have and I didn’t want that to happen again. We were leading WRC 2 Pro, but that wasn’t enough, I wanted to be in the overall [category] lead and take the win. From Friday I had to judge everything and it worked out perfectly and now we’re in the lead of the championship.

Q:
That must be a good confidence builder?
GG:
I wasn’t sure where we were going to be. This was my first time in Monte Carlo in an R5 car and we were still learning. I knew we didn’t have to be fastest on every stage and that if we made no mistakes it could be good. Elliot did a brilliant job and Antoine [L’Estage] and Craig [Parry, ice note crew] did a fantastic job. We had a good gap and in the end we could cruise and bring it home today.

Q:
What was cruising like?
GG:
Yeah, I was a bit nervous. This has been such a long time coming, this morning was probably the worst, the most unenjoyable moment in the car. We could have gone a lot faster, but we had a big enough lead and we just backed off.

Q
Elliot, first event back with Gus since 2015 and it has resulted in a hugely impressive win. Needless to say the relationship worked well this weekend?
EE:
Some reunion! The 2015 season was the last time we worked together, we’ve both gone off and done a lot since then. It was never the perfect circumstance for me to be back with Gus, but Craig’s been here this weekend and he and Antoine have done a fantastic job. It’s the perfect way to restart this partnership.

Q:
How were Gus’ notes?
EE:
Certainly they were very different to the ones we had in the R2 car in 2015. Gus’ notes have come on a lot and, of course, it’s a lot faster. We’ve done a lot of testing and a lot of prep. We got everything as good as we could before SS1 on Thursday night. I think that hard work has paid off.

Q:
How does it feel to have a Monte win under your belt?
EE:
Pretty unbelievable. This is not a place me and Gus have competed together before, to come here and get a win… unbelievable, it’ll take some time for this to sink in.

FIA WRC 2 CHAMPIONSHIP

Present:
1st – Yoann Bonato
1st – Benjamin Boulloud

Q:
Yoann, congratulations on the WRC 2 victory. What does it feel like to achieve a win here in Monte?
YB:
Hello everybody. This is a very good result. We had a big fight with Gus until the puncture – but it’s a good result for our team and for Citroen. We are very happy with this result.

Q:
But disappointed with the puncture…
YB:
That’s life. Sometimes you take some risks, I took a cut and had a puncture immediately, but we decided not to change the tyre and on the finish line this was the right decision.

Q:
Happy with the car?
YB:
For sure very happy with the car and the performance on the rally. It was a very difficult event with the icy conditions, we need to finish first to be in first place.

Q:
How many rounds will we see you on?
YB:
I don’t know, we are working for this. I am hoping for Corsica, but nothing is certain.

Q:
What was the toughest part of this event?
BB:
I don’t know, I like this one as I’m from around here – I like this kind of conditions! The grip is changing a lot and we have a lot of ice and sometimes it’s wet. It’s very difficult to read the grip.

Benjamin, how does it feel to win?
BB:
This rally is very, very difficult with the pace notes – so much information. The angle of the corner and so much more information with the ice, or dry. It’s not the most difficult today in some stages it was dry, but yesterday when we read the notes with so much on it’s difficult.

Q:
Was everything calm in the car?
BB:
Yes, this rally it’s never comfortable to drive in these conditions. When you fight with a driver like Gus on the ice on stages like this, it’s difficult – the grip is so low. It’s very, very hard.

Team Reviews

Manufacturers: Citroën Total W.R.T. (F) / Citroën C3 WRC (Michelin)
1 Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (F)
4 Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (FIN)

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia produced a heroic effort in their C3 WRC on today’s final leg to win the Rallye Monte-Carlo by the narrowest margin in the history of the event. A winning margin that reflected the intensity of the fight and the performance delivered, a performance that saw Citroën Racing claim its hundredth WRC win at the start of the year in which the brand celebrates its centenary!

Tackling the last 13.58 kilometres of a Rallye Monte-Carlo held over some 324 kilometres with a lead of just four tenths of a second calls for one hell of a cool head. And never more so when your concentration has been somewhat disturbed by a throttle issue. With six world titles to their names, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have long since mastered the art of managing the pressure in this kind of situation and the adrenalin pumping through their systems, and they demonstrated it once again today. Second fastest on the final stage between La Cabanette and the Col de Braus, the Frenchmen sealed their seventh overall win and their sixth in a row in the Principality by just 2.2s, on their first competitive outing the C3 WRC! The result also means the pair now jointly hold of the record for the number of wins at this prestigious rally and confirms just how much Sébastien and Julien are already at one with their new car.

This exceptional performance is equally Citroën Racing’s hundredth victory in the World Rally Championship, almost twenty years after its first win at this level when the Xsara Kit-Car prevailed at the 1999 Rally de Catalunya, driven by the late Philippe Bugalski and Jean-Paul Chiaroni, who now works as recce and weather coordinator for the team. A historic achievement that reflects the kind of longevity at the highest level that few manufacturers can boast.

All too aware of the pitfalls invariably provided by Monte-Carlo, the French pair adopted a measured, intelligent approach from the outset, grabbing second position after Thursday’s opening two night stages. They then moved into the overall lead the following day in the afternoon (SS7), thanks in large part to two stage wins (SS5 and SS6) on Curbans – Piegut (18.47km) and Valdrome – Sigottier 2 (20.04km), both new stages this year. Having ended Friday’s leg with a narrow 2.0s lead, Sébastien and Julien managed to more than double their advantage on Agnières en Devoluy – Corps (29.82km), the opening speed test on Saturday and the longest of the weekend, and this despite the stage featuring plenty of ice. A lead that they managed for the rest of Saturday’s leg, meaning they began the final day 4.3s ahead of the second-placed crew. They traded blows with their closest challengers on Sunday’s short final leg before pipping them to victory in the last few hundred metres.

Meanwhile, although they were forced to retire on Saturday morning after an engine issues, Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm had nonetheless made a promising start to the race, holding a brilliant fourth place on Thursday evening. Clearly, Citroën Total WRT made the right call in deciding to add them to their driver line-up, alongside Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia. Given that they are also likely to have a good position in the running order in Sweden, they will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with again.

REACTIONS FROM…

Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver

“We certainly weren’t taking anything for granted. The final leg, in particular, was really stressful and difficult with our minor throttle issue, which meant the car kept on accelerating, even under braking. We got some good advice from the team and were able to perform some makeshift repairs on the road section. We then pushed really hard and in the end, it worked out! It was an incredibly intense weekend. It was a non-stop battle, but we managed to come away with the win. Obviously, we’re very proud of this result in our first race with the C3 WRC, especially because, as I’ve often said, this rally is the one that is the most special for me. And it also means we can celebrate Citroën’s centenary in style. In other words, we couldn’t have hoped for a better start on our first race back with the team!”

TWO QUESTIONS FOR PIERRE BUDAR, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL

What are your feelings after this historic win?

Well, it certainly was a sensational win. I think, symbolically, it’s quite a big statement. It was extremely important for us to manage to secure this hundredth WRC win at the first round of the season, especially at such an iconic event as Rally Monte-Carlo and which is also held mainly in France. We’re also really pleased to add an eighth win to our joint record with Sébastien and Julien, in this, Citroën’s centenary year. When we decided to join forces again this year, we hoped to be able to add a few new pages to the history of the sport and our first race together couldn’t possibly have worked out any better.

How would you describe the performance of Sébastien and Julien?

At a rally as crazy as this one, with tyre choice once again proving very difficult and really tricky road conditions, quite simply, they produced a majestic performance. Majestic in the control and calm they exuded. It’s very interesting working with them, because there’s no standing on ceremony, they speak their minds and they know exactly what we need to focus on. They are helping us to make progress very quickly but it goes without saying that we’re going to need to keep working relentlessly. This opening round has clearly shown that this season is going to be closer than ever. In addition to Sébastien and Julien, who were obviously exceptional this weekend, I would like to pay tribute to the performance of all the members of the team. Their commitment has never wavered, even in our moments of doubt last year, and they have all put in countless hours of hard work so that we could make such a great start to our 2019 campaign. This result is obviously down to them as well!

HIGHLIGHTS

Indispensable partner to Sébastien Ogier and first-hand witness of how comfortable he is behind the wheel, the French co-driver told us about their state of mind as they waited to start the final stage.

“Before the final stage, our engineer asked me if he could do anything for us and I just suggested he should light a candle for us, and perhaps prepare the tow-truck and straps as well, you never know… Because we had no intention of messing about! I think I aged a few years over the course of this morning’s loop of four stages, it was so tense. Once we were underway, we pushed really hard whilst not making any mistakes, which is pretty exceptional from Seb, really, on his first rally in the C3 WRC. And yet, once we passed the finish line, we didn’t know quite what to think. There wasn’t much excitement at the stop control and then on the left, I saw Seb’s dad, who had a broad smile on his face. That was when I knew we’d won. Seb, however, didn’t notice at the time, he had to look down to get confirmation. He realised we’d won and then there was quite a bit of emotion in the car.”

Manufacturers: M-Sport Ford World Rally Team (GB) / Ford Fiesta WRC (Michelin)
33 Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (GB)
3 Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (FIN)
7 Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene (S/N)

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s three EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRCs all encountered challenges at this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo, but Teemu Suninen and Pontus Tidemand completed the notoriously difficult event to gain good experience for the future.

Despite their issues, both youngsters showed flashes of speed that bodes well for the future – a brave tyre choice rewarding Suninen with the fourth fastest time on SS7 whilst Tidemand was the fastest man through a number of split sections.

Suninen also secured a championship point for the fifth fastest time through the Power Stage – bettering that of both Loeb and Latvala who were pushing for position – and the team will take their potential forward to next month’s Rally Sweden.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“This isn’t the rally we wanted, but we need to look to the positives and come back stronger in Sweden. We know that we have a competitive car and that we were capable of more this weekend – all three crews showing their potential with some competitive stage and split times. Elfyn had the pace to go for a strong result, and Teemu and Pontus both made a lot of progress and got some good experience under the belts – something that is vital to doing well at this notoriously difficult event.”

Teemu Suninen (11th) said:

“It’s a shame that we went off on the first stage because the rest of the rally has been really good. But we got a lot of good experience and I had some pace on the snow sections. The more we learnt, the more we were able to build our pace and I was happy to get a Power Stage point today – beating Latvala and Loeb who were both fighting for position.”

Pontus Tidemand (20th) said:

“This car is amazing to drive and I have had a lot of fun this weekend. I’ve learnt a lot and need to thank the team and my route note crew for a really good job. We’ll analyse where we were good and where we weren’t quite so good. On the slippery sections we set some really fast splits, but on the dry Tarmac we weren’t on the pace and I need more time behind the wheel to use the full potential of the car. But it was good to get the kilometres and the experience. And we’ll have a good test before Rally Sweden where I hope to show another improvement.”

Manufacturers: Hyundai Motorsport (D) / Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC (Michelin)
11 Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (B)
89 Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (N)
19 Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (F/MC)

What a start to the new WRC season! In the closest ever Rallye Monte-Carlo, our Belgians Thierry and Nicolas finished as runners-up by a margin of just 2.2-seconds from Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier.

On an incredible final morning, featuring some of Monte’s most iconic stages, the duel went right down to the Power Stage. It was the conclusion of a tantalising rally that had seen all three of our crews in contention for the podium.

Having taken two stage wins earlier in the weekend, Thierry and Nicolas added a third to their tally in SS15 (La Bollène-Vésubie – Peira Cava) to reduce the gap to a mere 0.4s. Heading into the final run (La Cabanette – Col de Braus), the tension mounted. Third in the stage wasn’t quite enough for our Belgians but they added three extra Power Stage points and secured our best ever Monte result!

Off to a flyer!

“We can be pleased with this result,” said Thierry. “We gave it everything we had but a small mistake on Friday cost us the lead and we weren’t quite able to catch it back. That’s part of the game. We enjoyed the weekend a lot even if it wasn’t easy.”

In an equally intense battle for the final podium position, our newest crew Sébastien and Daniel enjoyed a hugely positive debut finishing in fourth, having taken two stage wins on Friday.

“Fourth place is not so bad,” said Sébastien. “To be fighting for the podium in my first event for Hyundai Motorsport gives us all the motivation we need for the next rally. It’s been a pleasure to be part of this team, and a positive way to start a new relationship.”

Sign of things to come

Andreas and Anders did not feature on the final morning, after retiring on Saturday while fighting for the podium. Yet, the competitiveness shown by the Norwegian crew reinforced a strong all-round team performance in Monte-Carlo, and bodes well for the season ahead.

“There are positives to take away,” said Andreas. “It had been such a good start to the rally, and the feeling with the car was fantastic. We were on the pace, fighting for the podium and that’s what we will bring with us to Rally Sweden.”

For our Team Director Andrea, Monte-Carlo sets a high standard: “I hope everyone enjoyed the exciting battle as much as we did,” he said. “It was incredibly tight all weekend, and a fantastic way to begin a new WRC season. I’m very happy with the result, our most competitive Monte performance, and pleased that we could play such an influential role in the rally. All our crews demonstrated strong, competitive pace, and were capable of finishing on the podium. I hope this is a sign of things to come for the whole season.”

Manufacturers: TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT (FIN) / Toyota Yaris WRC (Michelin)
8 Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (EE)
10 Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (FIN)
5 Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (GB)

Ott Tänak has delivered a podium for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team on the opening round of the 2019 season, with a superb fightback on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke also finished inside the top six, with Meeke additionally winning the Power Stage to complete a very encouraging first competitive outing in the Toyota Yaris WRC.
Car 8(Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja)

Tänak had begun the event in fine form, leading after Thursday night’s opening stages, but ended Friday down in seventh overall after stopping to change a wheel. He then won all four stages on Saturday and the opening two tests on Sunday morning to make up a deficit of more than a minute to third position.

Latvala was also in the fight for a podium place and eventually finished fifth, only 1.7 seconds from fourth. Meeke was sixth after losing several minutes changing flat tyres earlier in the weekend, but he quickly gelled with his new car in his first WRC start for more than eight months. He came second to Tänak on four stages and then won the finale, claiming the maximum five bonus points.

Quotes:
Shigeki Tomoyama (President, GAZOO Racing Company)
“Last season, we won the manufacturers’ title in our second year, but we also experienced many difficulties and retirements. To start this season, the entire team worked together and continued to ’Kaizen’ ourselves to bring our speed and consistency to a new level for the opening round. Stronger and faster rivals made this year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo very tough, in addition to the fast-changing road conditions experienced every year. Even under these difficult conditions, all three of our crews fought really well and were able to make the rally super exciting. Ott and Martin especially have shown superior fighting ability, just as they did last year. Even though they lost significant time due to the puncture, they won seven stages and claimed third place on the podium. Jari-Matti and Miikka drove calmly through the event and finished in fifth. Kris and Seb showed incredible speed in the Power Stage, while truly enjoying their first ride in the Yaris WRC. Their brilliant drives have showed us that we can expect wonderful results this season. From the balanced performance of the Yaris WRC and the supreme teamwork, I felt our team pushing towards winning this year’s titles. We would like to ask for your continuous support for our TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team this season.”

Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“It was a great finish to the rally for us and a very positive result. We have scored some good points for the championship. We were fastest on nine out of the 15 stages here, which proves the strong performance of our car. Kris’s performance has been especially impressive in his first rally with us. I think he has sent a warning to everybody else for the rest of the season and everybody will be keeping their eyes on him.”

Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“I am very pleased with this podium. After Friday I didn’t have such high hopes. I’m surprised we could catch all this time back on asphalt in relatively dry conditions. We had a good run this morning and then we just had to maintain our position to the finish. I’m really happy with the team, with my gravel crew and with the car. We did a perfect job on Saturday and Sunday and we should all feel proud of ourselves.”

Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“It was a close fight for the whole weekend, but I wasn’t at my best, I must say. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t take fourth place today. But I realise now that I made a mistake in our test and I developed the wrong sort of setup for the rally. Because of that, my car was understeering too much for my driving style, and the confidence wasn’t there to go faster. But we had a clean weekend with no errors and we have scored some good points, which is important to start the season. We know that the car is capable of winning.”

Kris Meeke (Driver car 5)
“To win the Power Stage was an incredible way to finish our first rally with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. We only set one fastest time this weekend but we did it when it counted. Other drivers were still fighting for their positions until the end, so to put it on the line and come away with the five points is great. We had technical issues this weekend that affected our result – fourth might have been possible – but to show our speed is really nice. The feeling with the car is really good. Finally, everything seems to be coming together for me, but we’re only one rally in, so we have to stay concentrated now and look forward to Sweden.”

What’s next?
Rally Sweden (February 14-17) is the WRC’s only full winter event, taking place on snow and ice. Metal studs inserted into the tyres punch through the ice to find grip, while drivers use the snow banks to stay on the road by ‘leaning’ through the corners. The rally was the scene of the maiden victory for the Toyota Yaris WRC in 2017, courtesy of Jari-Matti Latvala.

WRC2 PRO: ŠKODA Motorsport (TGS Worldwide) / ŠKODA Fabia R5 (Michelin)
30 Kalle Rovanperä / Jonne Halttunen (FIN)

The 2019 season of the World Rally Championship is officially on! As always, the year starts with the legend among rallies, the famous Rallye Monte Carlo. The action begins around the town of Gap in high mountains to the north of Monaco and the route will take the crews through the Alpes Maritimes region above the principality and finally down to the Monaco itself. The unpredictable conditions, where snow, ice and dry tarmac can appear all on the same stage, make for an exciting rally – and as every year, the Monte Carlo is also the place where new driver, co-driver and car line-ups appear.

This year, Kalle Rovanperä with his co-driver Jonne Halttunen come to represent ŠKODA Motorsport in WRC 2 Pro category, standing against Ford and Citroën works crews, while other 13 FABIA R5s are present in WRC 2 category, their biggest competitors being the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 cars.

Shakedown
The shakedown on the roads around Gap gave us the first taste of what may be to come this week. Kalle Rovanperä took two runs and after taking it easy in the first one, he used the second to post a time of 2:04.9, comfortable 0.6 seconds ahead of Gus Greensmith of Ford and almost 3 seconds ahead of former teammate Ole Christian Veiby on Volkswagen.

The fastest customer crews were Olivier Burri/Andersson Levratti in 6th place and Rhys Yates/Denis Giraudet in the 7th.

Stages 1 – 2 (Thursday night)
After a promising start in shakedown, the first stage of Rallye Monte Carlo brought some bad luck for Kalle Rovanperä and his co-driver Jonne Halttunen. A corner with treacherous combination of snow and ice caught Kalle off guard and he ended up in a ditch, hitting the car of WRC driver Teemu Suninen who was an earlier victim of the same corner. Luckily, Kalle and Jonne were able to use their ingenuity and perform some emergency repair. Although they broke two wheels and damaged the front of the car, smashing the headlights, they were able to continue and complete both of the evening stages. With damaged car and only able to salvage one headlight, they had to take it slow and easy. They finished more than 12 minutes behind the leading driver Yoann Bonato on Citroën C3 R5, beating only one car.

That doesn’t mean anything, though, as we know that Kalle is a prime example of what Finns call “sisu”, the ability to fight and prevail even against all odds. Monte Carlo is a long, difficult and unpredictable rally and literally anything can happen between now and Sunday afternoon. Only one thing is certain – this is going to be an exciting rally!

Stages 3 – 5 (Friday morning)

The Friday morning action started late, after the first stage of the day, SS3, was delayed because of spectators in the dangerous areas around the track. Starting with SS4, Kalle Rovanperä started working to fight his way from the back of the field and set out second fastest time of the R5 cars. One stage later, he used a combination of cross-mounted slick and studded tyres, becoming the quickest driver in the field of the R5 cars.

“I got a good rhythm, the car feels okay and I am improving”, commented young Finn on his perfromance.

Stages 6 – 8 (Friday afternoon)

In the afternoon set of stages, Kalle Rovanperä continued his great performance from the morning. Even though the roads were getting drier, he kept his cross-fitted tyres – slicks and studded tyres on the opposite corners of the car – and he was getting more confident over the course of the afternoon. Even though he started the day next-to-last, he managed to climb up the ranks throughout the day, finishing the Friday’s leg in 16th position, or roughly in the half of the overall standings, after setting two best times among R5 cars and finishing 3rd in the SS7.

“Today has been going quite well. We started carefully because of yesterday, I think everything has been improving today – the notes from the ice crew has been getting better“, he told us about his successful day.

Stages 9 – 10 (Saturday morning)

Kalle Rovanperä can’t seem to shake his bad luck at Monte Carlo. In the longest stage of the rally, 29.82 kilometre long one from Agnieres en Devoluy to Corps, he suffered a puncture and had to change a tyre. This meant he dropped 2 places to the 18th position, halting his way back to the top.

In the second stage of the day, SS10, Kalle had a clean run and set the same time as R5 category leader Gus Greensmith, which was enough to move back to the 16th position. After the last service stop in Gap, the crews will repeat the morning’s two stages and then head to Monte Carlo. Kalle’s got six stages left to fight for better position.

Stages 11 – 12 (Saturday afternoon)

In the afternoon’s first stage, Kalle once again proved his speed, posting the quickest time among the R5 cars and eighth fastest in overall standings. For the last stage of the day, he did not pick the ideal set of tyres, but even so, he managed to set the third quickest time before heading to service park in Gap and then to Monte Carlo. With one day and four stages left, Kalle is now 13th in RC2 standings.

Stages 13 – 16 (Sunday)

On the final day of the rally, Kalle Rovanperä had four stages to further improve his standing. He performed a flawless run, posting third best time among RC2 cars for three times in a row, which was enough to move him up another two places finishing the rally as 11th fastest among the R5 cars.

Even though his final result was affected by his mishap in the beginning of the rally, Kalle has once again shown his sheer speed and talent. Here are some numbers that show how fast he really was. Out of 16 special stages, he managed to be fastest of the R5 cars in four, second-fastest in two and third-fastest in another five. Maybe even more impressive is that after falling down to 84th position after his mishap in SS1, Kalle moved to 18th place in the rally’s overall standings, up 66 positions.

The final result also means that Kalle secured a second place in the WRC 2 Pro category and thus earned important point that may prove decisive later in the season.

WRC2 PRO: M-Sport Ford World Rally Team / Ford Fiesta R5 (Michelin)
21 Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson (GB)

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Gus Greensmith and Elliott Edmondson have taken their maiden victory at this weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Delivering an impressive performance behind the wheel of their EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5, the Brits secured the win in the WRC 2 Pro and RC2 classes, as well as a notable seventh place in the overall standings.

Demonstrating the progress he has made over the past twelve months, Greensmith’s inspired drive paired his customary speed with the control and consistency needed to tame the stages of this notoriously difficult event.

The pairing’s flawless performance also demonstrated the power and performance of M-Sport and Ford’s most successful global rally car – the Fiesta R5 continuing to win stages, rallies and championships six years after its debut.

Rewarded with a career-best result at one of the world’s most iconic events, Greensmith will be spurred on by the taste of victory – not least when he takes to the top-specification Fiesta at Rally de Portugal and when he gets his hands on the all-new Fiesta R5 later this summer.

Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:

“Congratulations to Gus and Elliott. We knew Gus’ first victory wasn’t far away, but to claim it on an event as difficult as this with the experience he has just shows how far he has come. The partnership between him and Elliott is working really well and they didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend. It was a very impressive, mature drive and they can both be extremely proud of this milestone achievement on their first step up to WRC 2 Pro.

“The Fiesta R5 is our most successful global rally car and it’s still winning rallies and championships around the world. What we have achieved here with Gus – in a car that is effectively six years old – bodes extremely well for the future. Gus will certainly be hungry for more victories this year, and I see no reason why he can’t achieve that; especially when we debut the new car this summer.”

Gus Greensmith said:

“I’m pretty sure this is the best day of my life so far! It took us a while to get here, but it’s an amazing feeling and there are so many people I need to thank. It was almost a perfect rally from beginning to end and we did everything we needed to do. When we needed to push and build a gap, we did. And when we needed to control it, we did. It’s definitely been my best ever performance behind the wheel, and now I’m just looking forward to a beer and letting it all sink in!”

Elliott Edmondson said:

“It’s been a brilliant rally back with Gus and we couldn’t have asked for any more. Monte is always a challenge so I can’t say it was easy, but we managed the whole weekend really well. We showed speed when we had to, and were more cautious when we could afford to be. We couldn’t have asked for a better start and here’s hoping for more good results as the season continues!”

Tommi Mäkinen Racing (MM-Motorsport) / Ford Fiesta R5 (Pirelli)
31 Takamoto Katsuta / Daniel Barrit (J/GB)

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program driver Takamoto Katsuta, co-driven by Daniel Barritt, has embarked on his 14-rally learning schedule this year with the oldest and most prestigious event on the calendar: Rallye Monte-Carlo. Having concentrated on gaining experience and staying out of trouble throughout all four days, the young Japanese driver finished sixth in the R5 category – one step below the top World Rally Car class – and 13th overall.

Rallye Monte-Carlo is well-known for its mixed conditions that can vary from dry asphalt to snow to ice, making tyre choice incredibly complex. Katsuta and Barritt were determined just to get to the finish and take away as much experience as possible of these tricky stages that test every aspect of a crew’s skills. The rally got underway with two stages run on Thursday night in darkness, before the longest day of the event on Friday featuring six stages, after which Katsuta and Barritt were already classified just outside the top 10 overall.

In the mixed conditions of Saturday, which featured plenty of snow and ice at altitude, the crew had two low-speed spins as they explored the limits. But this didn’t impede their progress as they powered successfully to the finish, having taken on board many useful lessons throughout the 16 stages and 323.83 competitive kilometres.

There was plenty for the crew to learn: Katsuta and Barritt were competing together for the first time since 2016, while it was the first time for Katsuta on Rallye Monte-Carlo. As a result, it was also the first time that Katsuta had worked with safety crews: a non-competing crew (in this case, Jarkko Miettinen and Mikko Markkula) that goes through the stages before the rally car, to check and correct the pace notes if necessary.

Quotes:

Takamoto Katsuta
“This rally was very tricky for me, especially as it was the first time driving here: I was only a spectator before. But we survived and learned a lot, which was the main thing. Our aim was just to get to the finish and learn, no more than that. I wanted to get the confidence, and the feeling and the experience here. I didn’t really care about the speed. We achieved our target, and so I think the next time will be a lot easier for us. Thank you to Dan, Jarkko and Mikko for their help and their experience. On Saturday we had two spins, but slow speed so nothing too serious: the roads were very slippery. Tyre choice was one of the most difficult things about this rally, as you really never know what the right decision is but luckily, we had very good advice and I felt I was getting better all the time. It’s a very special rally, this is for certain. I don’t think there’s anywhere else like Monte-Carlo.”

Jarkko Miettinen (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program instructor)
“I would like to congratulate Taka and Dan for their good result on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Taka drove his first Monte exactly according to the team plan. This is a rally that you have to carefully learn by driving it before you can even think about winning it. I am sure Taka could have gone faster on some of the stages, but he quite rightly wanted to take away as much experience as he could from here for the future. This was great start to our 2019 season, which will continue on Rally Sweden.”

Tommi Mäkinen (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Rally Challenge Program supervisor)
“I think that Taka did a very, very good job on his first Rallye Monte-Carlo. Completing such a difficult event with no major problems will really increase his confidence and experience going forwards. You can really learn a lot here if you manage to do the full distance like Taka did. I’m sure that the experience of this weekend will benefit him already in Sweden, which is of course a much more familiar challenge for him.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

Katsuta returns to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs for his next event: Rally Sweden from February 14-17. Last year, Katsuta won the WRC2 category, so he will be setting his sights on a repeat of this historic result. The specialised Swedish stages are characterised by cold temperatures along with snow and ice, with the cars using studded tyres to bite into the ground and gain grip.

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