Sébastien Ogier moved nearer to a document ninth Rallye Monte-Carlo win after finishing one other flawless run within the French Alps on Saturday. However a cost from Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate and reigning WRC champion Kalle Rovanpera means it is not fairly completed with Sunday’s ultimate stage nonetheless forward.
After increase a large benefit of greater than half a minute on Friday, Ogier’s attentions turned to preserving the lead in his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 because the season opener of the World Rally Championship Monaco-based FIA headed to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence for six asphalt levels totaling 69.46 aggressive miles.
With Saturday’s operating order primarily based on the reversed rally classification, the eight-time WRC champion needed to take care of the dirtiest street situations as gravel, rocks and dirt had been swept up the levels by those that ran greater on the peloton.
Ogier, who solely drives a partial program for Toyota as he continues to discover a profession path in motor racing, has taken a vigilant method. He was in no temper to take dangers and was determined to not repeat final 12 months’s disappointment, when a pointy rock brought about a late puncture that dampened his bid for victory.
However on account of his warning, the 39-year-old Frenchman noticed his buffer greater than halved by charging GR colleague Yaris Rovanpera. He heads into Sunday’s ultimate stage 16.0 seconds forward of the summit.
Ogier is assured he has sufficient time forward of him however, with 4 treacherous levels nonetheless to come back, something can occur. A win right here would put him clearly on the high of the Monte-Carlo Rally honor roll, breaking the document of eight wins he at the moment shares with previous foe Sébastien Loeb.
“I feel (the lead) must be sufficient,” Ogier mentioned. “The final stage right now was probably the most harmful for punctures, so I took it straightforward and I am pleased that this stage is over now.”
WRC champion Rovanpera received off to a powerful begin and received two of the morning’s three levels to place a long way between him and Hyundai i20 N Rally1 ace Thierry Neuville.
Neuville responded by claiming the 2 greatest occasions himself, however an enormous push from Rovanpera at nighttime Ubraye-Entrevaux left Belgium’s Neuville anchored in third, 16.0 seconds behind his Finnish rival.
Elfyn Evans made three Toyotas within the high 4 with a powerful comeback after his puncture on Friday. The Welshman edged M-Sport Ford’s Ott Tanak within the second stage of the day and by no means strayed from the highest 3 times in every of the remaining 4 exams, ending 24.5 seconds behind Neuville within the standings.
For M-Sport Ford’s returning Tanak, there have been emotions of each reduction and disappointment after a technical glitch left his Puma Rally1 with heavier-than-normal steering.
Though this left him unable to combat Evans, the flip aspect of Tanak’s downside was that the facility steering hadn’t fully failed – which he would have dreaded as there was no service at deliberate mid-term.
Toyota’s rising star Takamoto Katsuta moved as much as sixth general after edging out Hyundai’s Dani Sordo on the opening spherical of Fugeret at Thorame-Haute. Sordo, who now sits in seventh place general, continued to really feel perplexed by the dearth of competitiveness in his stage occasions.
Eighth-placed Esapekka Lappi made changes in a single day and felt far more comfy along with his new i20 N. A right-rear puncture on stage 4 of the day was a minor supply of frustration however, above all, didn’t have an effect on his place within the common classification.
In WRC2, the second tier of worldwide rallying, Nikolay Gryazin stored pushing ahead – however his exhausting work almost unraveled with large drama in Saturday’s ultimate apply.
One other clear spherical noticed the 25-year-old Toksport WRT Skoda Fabia RS driver prolong his class benefit to over 45 seconds earlier than the ultimate check of the day, an evening race by Ubraye-Entrevaux. However a entrance proper puncture about 4 miles from the top of the stage diminished Gryazin’s result in simply 15.2 seconds over Citroën C3 driver Yohan Rossel, establishing an exhilarating ultimate day.
“I used to be attempting to keep away from all of the cuts and rocks, however we nonetheless managed,” defined a pissed off Gryazin.
Sunday’s ultimate stage returns to the Alpes-Maritimes for 4 legs totaling 42.18 aggressive miles. The acquainted stage Luceram / Lantosque opens the debates and is adopted by a resumption of La Bollene-Vesubie / Col de Turini, which the crews have already lined at nighttime Thursday night. Each levels are repeated as soon as extra, the latter forming the rally’s closing Wolf Energy Stage, the place bonus factors can be found.
Monte-Carlo WRC Rally, main positions after day two, SS14
1 Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) 2h27m11.5s
2 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +16.0s
3 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +32.0s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +56.5s
5 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1) +1m37.3s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR Yaris Rally1) +2m15.7s
7 Dani Sordo/Candido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +3m08.8s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Hyundai i20 N Rally1) +3m11.4s
9 Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (Skoda Fabia RS – WRC2 chief) +8m06.1s
10 Yohan Rossel/Arnaud Dunand (Citroën C3 – WRC2) +8m21.3s
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