Sebastien Ogier staged a masterclass on asphalt to complete Rally Monte-Carlo on Friday with a substantial lead over his friends within the FIA World Rally Championship.
Driving a Toyota GR Yaris Rally1, the eight-time world champion gained 4 of Friday’s six levels within the French Alps to guide the opening WRC spherical by 36.0 seconds forward of Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Kalle Rovanpera after 90.1 miles of competitors, together with the primary two on Thursday night. trials.
The Monaco-based rally holds fond reminiscences for Ogier, who was born and raised within the Hautes-Alpes. The 39-year-old has opted to run solely a part-time WRC marketing campaign in 2023 however exhibits no indicators of letting up as he chases a file ninth victory on the collection’ most historic occasion.
Ogier set the tempo in Thursday evening’s brief opener and continued to say the identical dominance within the morning, extending his double-digit benefit over teammate Elfyn Evans, regardless of a hybrid unit foul.
When Evans fell again after shedding 40 seconds with a right-rear puncture on Friday’s third stage, Ogier was given an opportunity to breathe. He took much less threat within the afternoon, even packing an additional spare tire, however nonetheless prolonged his buffer whatever the further weight.
“I am very happy,” Ogier stated. “Clearly the chance of a puncture (within the final stage) was greater, so I took it a bit simpler. I am simply completely satisfied to convey the automotive residence tonight.
Rovanpera emerged victorious from an intense battle with Hyundai i20 N Rally1 driver Thierry Neuville. The pair had been hardly ever separated by quite a lot of tenths of a second, however reigning WRC champion Rovanpera discovered a slight benefit within the afternoon to complete 1.9 seconds behind the Belgian.
Fourth place total is held by Ott Tanak after a troublesome day spent studying the intricacies of driving M-Sport’s Ford Puma Rally1 in competitors for the primary time. Within the Estonian’s personal phrases, his new steed did not really feel ‘racy’ sufficient, though he admitted to being snug within the automotive.
Tanak is 16.3 seconds behind Neuville heading into Saturday’s penultimate stage and faces rising strain from Evans, who made a formidable restoration from his puncture to complete simply 8.1 seconds behind. Puma man.
One other 27.9 seconds behind and finishing the highest six is Dani Sordo, driving one other Hyundai. The Spaniard was annoyed and felt that his occasions had been less than the dangers he was taking over the levels.
Takamoto Katsuta was hampered by a handbrake downside on Thursday night, however rode easily aboard his GR Yaris. A string of top-four lap occasions propelled the 29-year-old Japanese driver to seventh total forward of Esapekka Lappi, who shared Sordo’s frustrations in his Hyundai i20 N.
In WRC2, the second tier of worldwide rallying, Nikolay Gryazin was keen to take dangers as his rivals averted profitable 4 of six levels on Friday, practically doubling his in a single day lead from Thursday’s levels.
Beginning Friday with a 16.7-second lead over Citroën’s Stéphane Lefebvre, Toksport WRT Skoda driver Gryazin was instantly on the tempo – posting the second-fastest time within the day’s opening follow, simply 0.7 seconds from Yohan Rossel.
However not simply snug holding on to his lead, the 25-year-old upped the ante in his Fabia RS to go quickest over the following 4 levels, slowing solely barely within the day’s last check to make sure a 29.7 second lead over Rossel when the peloton returned to the evening stage in Monaco.
Frenchman Rossel began the day in third place after shedding round 5 seconds with a pricey stall on Thursday evening, however he edged fellow Citroën C3 driver Lefebvre together with his stage win within the day’s opener. Lefebvre completed the day third, 17s behind Rossel and 46.7s forward of Gryazin.
The motion swings west into the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence on Saturday for six extra levels and 69.46 miles of competitors. Le Fugeret/Thorame-Haute, Malijai/Puimichel and Ubraye/Entrevaux every run twice on both facet of a tire meeting space in Puget-Théniers. Like Friday, there is no such thing as a mid-leg service.
Monte-Carlo WRC Rally, main positions after day one, SS8
1 Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) 1h26m39.4s
2 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +36.0s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +37.9s
4 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1) +54.2s
5 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +1m02.3s
6 Dani Sordo/Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +1m30.2s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +1m33.1s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +1m57.7s
9 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2 chief) +4m12.8s
10 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 – WRC2) +4m42.5s
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