Sebastien 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. Sebastien Loeb has moved into third overall ahead of the grand finale around Monaco.
Once again, conditions were mixed with snow, ice and dry asphalt — a repeated loop of the morning stages. This made the tire choice particularly critical for all the crews. Ogier, using super soft tires, 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 Tanak and Kris Meeke setting a strong team performance, finishing first and second respectively on the two stages.
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.
Tanak’s gamble on four non-studded winter tires 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 teammate 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.
Rallye Monte-Carlo – Unofficial results after Section 5
|1||Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia||Citroen C3 WRC||2h8m30.0s|
|2||Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2h38m34.3s|
|3||Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2h40m28.7s|
|4||Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila||Toyota Yaris WRC||2h40m31.0s|
|5||Ott Tanak / Martin Jarveoja||Toyota Yaris WRC||2h40m46.0s|
|6||Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall||Toyota Yaris WRC||2h43m56.8s|
|7||Gus Greensmith / Elliott Edmondson||Ford Fiesta R5||2h48m42.0s|
|8||Yoann Bonato / Benjamin Boulloud||Citroen C3 R5||2h50m13.4s|
|9||Stephane Sarrazin / Jacques-Julien Renucci||Hyundai i20 R5||2h50m46.0s|
|10||Guillaume de Mevius / Martijn Wydaeghe||Citroen C3 R5||2h51m37.0s|