Spin cuts into Ogier's Monte lead

Spin cuts into Ogier's Monte lead


Spin cuts into Ogier's Monte lead


Sebastien Ogier’s advantage at the head of the Rallye Monte-Carlo leaderboard was slashed this afternoon when he ended up in ditch after a slow-speed spin. The Frenchman lost 20 seconds to Ott Tanak, cutting his lead from 33.9 seconds to just 14.9 at the end of the first full day of competition.

Tanak has been on fine form, winning the first of the repeated stages and demonstrating he has comfortably slotted straight into his new Yaris WRC. Dani Sordo holds third for Hyundai, putting three different manufacturers on the provisional podium.

This afternoon the crews headed back into the same three stages, which again proved tricky with some light rain, standing and running water on treacherous mountain roads. Ogier was lucky to escape his uncharacteristic mistake, spectators helping him back on to the road to continue his bid for a fifth consecutive home victory. Without the spin the Frenchman would have had nearly a minute in hand.

Tanak wasn’t full of confidence early in the afternoon as he continued to familiarize himself with the Toyota Yaris, but by the end of the day the Estonian had the car working well and was delighted to be fighting for the win. Sordo suffered with a fogged-up windscreen and is nearly 45 seconds adrift of Tänak.

Esapekka Lappi, who is one with the least experience of these types of conditions, is a fine fourth in his first full season with Toyota. The Finn has found the conditions tricky but has been mistake-free and is growing in confidence and pleased with his performance. Teammate Jari-Matti Latvala is one position behind in fifth, experiencing a better feeling this afternoon and he will surely be fighting to overhaul Lappi with just two-tenths of a second splitting them.

Kris Meeke is sixth, the Northern Irish driver a minute and a half further behind and needing others to make mistakes if he has a realistic chance of moving up the leaderboard. Bryan Bouffier is enjoying his first outing in a current generation World Rally Car but playing it reasonably safe as one of M-Sport Ford’s nominated drivers. Teammate Elfyn Evans has set fine pace; the Welshman won the second stage and has climbed from 16th last night to eighth with growing confidence. Thierry Neuville has also moved back into the top 10 after his excursion into a snow bank last night. He is hot on Evans’ tail in ninth and targeting a top-six finish. Like everyone, Craig Breen has found conditions tricky, but he rounds off the top 10.

Jan Kopecky continues to top the FIA WRC 2 Championship contenders and has a huge advantage in the category following the retirement of Eric Camilli, while Jean-Baptiste Franceschi still holds the WRC 3 lead.

Rallye Monte-Carlo – Provisional results after Section 3:

1.   Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 07min 15.4sec

2.   Ott Tanak / Martin Jarveoja

Toyota Yaris WRC

2hr 07min 30.3sec

3.   Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

2hr 08min 15.1sec

4.   Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm

Toyota Yaris WRC

2hr 08min 25.3sec

5.   Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila

Toyota Yaris WRC

2hr 08min 25.5sec

6.   Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle

Citroen C3 WRC

2hr 10min 00.9sec

7.   Bryan Bouffier / Xavier Panseri

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 10min 50.0sec

8.   Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 11min 17.1sec

9.   Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

2hr 11min 19.5sec

10. Craig Breen / Scott Martin

Citroen C3 WRC

2hr 12min 22.0sec