Regerande världsmästaren Sébastien Ogier visade återigen klass när han tog hem ännu en seger av det klassiska rallyt Rallye Monte Carlo tillsammans med sin lika duktiga co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
Toyotaduon tog hem totalsegern och även den avslutande Powerstage och med det så har de maximala poäng efter årets första deltävling i Rally-VM. I mål efter 14 specialsträckor fördelade på fyra dagar var de 32,6 sekunder före teamkompisarna Elfyn Evans och Martin Scott.
Det händer mycket under ett ”Monte-rally” och även Sébastien Ogier och Julien Ingrassia var inblandade i lite action, se klippet här.
Trea totalt blev Thierry Neuville med sin nya co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe som bästa Hyundaibil. Bästa Ford blev Gus Greensmith och Elliot Edmondson på en åttondeplats. Deras teamkompis Teemu Suninen gjorde en spektakulär krasch redan på den första specialsträckan.
Tyvärr satte en avåkning stopp för Oliver Solberg på den allra sista sträckan. Det efter att han varit med och fightats om en topp10-placering. Men en fin fjärde tid totalt på söndagens första sträcka och mycket rutin får han ta med sig till nästa tävling.
Topp-10 i Rallye Monte Carlo 2021
1) S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Toyota Yaris WRC 2:56:33.7
2) E. Evans S. Martin Toyota Yaris WRC +32.6
3) T. Neuville M. Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:13.5
4) K. Rovanperä J. Halttunen Toyota Yaris WRC +2:33.6
5) D. Sordo C. del Barrio Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +3:14.2
6) T. Katsuta D. Barritt Toyota Yaris WRC +7:01.3
7) A. Mikkelsen O. Fløene Škoda Fabia R5 +7:23.6
8) G. Greensmith E. Edmondson Ford Fiesta WRC +8:21.1
9) A. Fourmaux R. Jamoul Ford Fiesta R5 +9:15.8
10) E. Camilli F. Buresi Citroën C3 R5 +10:41.0
Här följer kommentarer på engelska från några av helgens hjältar.
1) Sébastien Ogier, Toyota
”- This is a perfect start to the season. Watching this rally as a kid gave me the dream to become a driver one day. If I could have only one record, for sure I would take this one. It has a lot of meaning for me, and this is also the reason I was quite emotional on the podium.
– The Yaris WRC has been fantastic this weekend: I had such a good feeling in the car. I think it was a good decision to do one more year. The team is great, so a huge thanks to all of them. The first stage this morning was incredible: There were so many grip changes and it was impossible to read because it was like black ice.
– The gravel crew went through the stage two hours earlier and there was nothing there at the time, just a little bit of frost. So it was really surprising. It is never the easiest to manage a lead and especially on this rally, but we did it.”
2) Elfyn Evans, Toyota
” – It was a tough final day with very challenging conditions, as it has been throughout the weekend really. Maybe I didn’t push quite enough to really challenge Seb for the victory, he was very very good this weekend. It’s his home rally so it was always going to be tough – but credit to him. And as a team it’s a fantastic start to the year. We can be happy with the points, but of course you always want more and hopefully next time I can be a bit stronger.
– I don’t think I quite had the feeling this weekend. Perhaps at the start of the year it was better not to risk everything to try to win, but we know if we want to challenge for the title we’ll have to do that during the year. However, I feel we’ve got a really strong car and a very strong team to go with it.”
3) Thierry Neuville, Hyundai.
”- A challenging start to the new season for us, especially after a late co-driver change. We were able to find a solution to be competitive and, step by step, Martijn and me were able to find more confidence in the car to improve our collaboration and to improve our speed day by day. To finish on the podium is a satisfying result considering the situation we have faced. The job in the car has been really impressive considering the difficulties of Monte.”
4) Kalle Rovanperä, Toyota
” – I would say the conditions were really quite extreme this morning. The first stage was really tricky with the ice and then then we had snow in the second stage. I think I was a bit unlucky with the tyre damage but that’s also rallying sometimes. In the Power Stage we had a nice time. I was a bit surprised because I wasn’t really pushing on the maximum. I just picked up the pace a bit more, and it was good to have proper points from there too.
– Overall it was a really nice weekend from my side because I didn’t do so many kilometres on asphalt last year. We were a lot faster than on this rally last year and more consistent also, so it was a good weekend with just a bit of bad luck.”
5) Dani Sordo, Hyundai
”- We haven’t had a very good rally, so to take some manufacturers’ points away is some consolation. From the beginning, we have not really been on the pace and I am not particularly happy with myself, to be honest. We have faced some incredibly tricky stages and there have been some parts where I have just lacked confidence.
– The only thing we’ve been able to do is survive: to bring the car home and to score points for the team. At the end of the year, they could be very important. We need to reset and go to the next one with full power.
– It is sad to finish my partnership with Carlos; we’ve had some good results over the years, and it’s been great to work with him.”
8) Gus Greensmith, Ford
”- It goes without saying that this wasn’t the weekend we wanted. I had a lot of confidence after the test and was really looking forward to this rally – but as soon as we got to that first stage the confidence just went to zero.
“So much work went on behind the scenes to get us here, and with the preparation we had I know we should have been better. Teemu proved on the first stage that there were no issues with the car – it was just the driver. I have to learn from this weekend, and work hard to get back to where I know we should be.”
Teamcheferna om Rallye Monte Carlo 2021
Richard Millener, M-Sport
”- We had the potential to challenge for a good result this weekend, and it was great to see that pace from Teemu on the opening stage. Even without all the upgrades, we can still be as competitive as our rivals in the right conditions – it’s just a shame it didn’t last longer than it did, especially after all the hard work it took to get here.
– Gus had a really good test and was looking forward to the rally, but for some reason it just didn’t click for him. He’s extremely self-critical and I know he’ll have taken the disappointment to heart. And let’s not forgot how difficult this rally is. Confidence is everything, and if you’re missing that it’s going to show. But he made it through – he got the mileage and we’ll work with him to unlock that confidence on the next rallies.
– In WRC 2 it was another very strong performance from Adrien and we’re really happy with the job he’s done this weekend. He had the speed, but he also had the strategy and when you saw him at the stage ends he was always very calm and collected.
– He showed stage-winning pace against a proven and experienced rally winner, but was also able to identify sections where a more cautious approach was required. It had all the makings of an Ogier-esque performance, and Adrien is definitely proving himself to be a real talent for the future.”
En minst sagt besviken Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport
”- This rally has finished in the same way it has gone all weekend. Clearly, it has been totally wrong. I don’t know if it is the approach of the people, or whatever, but today we have again shown our limits. For sure, it was not the case to push because we were just licking our wounds and trying to get ahead.
– I personally have to have a deep rethink on many things because what I have seen this weekend is far from something to make me proud and happy. Something in the approach has to be changed.
– I would like to add a final word for Carlos to mark his final event with our team; to extend my thanks to him for his efforts over the past three seasons, including two memorable victories alongside Dani in Sardinia. We wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRC´s nya teamchef Jari-Matti Latvala var desto gladare
”- I am really, really proud of the team. What a fantastic result. For my first rally in this role and immediately we have a one-two-four finish, and also Takamoto in sixth, as well the maximum points in the Power Stage – it’s incredible! I have a fantastic team and we have the best drivers.
– From the beginning of the rally, they had good speed and later we saw some very dominant stages from Seb which secured his victory. Elfyn did a really consistent run as well with no mistakes the whole weekend. Kalle had a chance to fight for the podium as well before he unfortunately got this tyre damage this morning that dropped him back, but fourth is still a very good start to his year. Overall it’s an amazing result to start the season with.”