Recap: Rallye Monte-Carlo – Nearly challenged by Tänak, but Ogier remains king!
Although quite dry, we saw all kinds of conditions during the four days of Rallye Monte-Carlo. For a few stages on Sunday, even all conditions at once! Facing dry, wet, snow and ice on a single stage makes the tyre choice tricky! Because of conditions changing even mid-race we also saw drivers catching up – or lagging behind – given the unequal circumstances. But that’s just what we can expect from an outdoor sport.
In the end, even though we call Rally Monte-Carlo challenging and unpredictable, we still got the same podium as last year. The only difference was Tanak managing through the last day without engine trouble and hence not dropping from 2nd to 3rd.
More or less every driver had a problem or made a mistake of some sort, but did it have any major consequences? How did each driver perform? Let’s run through the manufacturers.
If we measure bu manufacturer, we think Toyota had the best combined results. In reality Tänak was the only challenger to Ogier. We also saw nice driving and a consistent performance by Jari-Matti Latvala. Lappi also had a good first Rallye Monte-Carlo-run, and as always we could see a push from him on the power stage. There he made a mistake and dropped from 4th to 7th. Maybe another approach on the power stage next time, Esapekka? With Toyota in good shape, we’re sure we will see the same strong performances at Rally Sweden.
Hats off for Ogier. What a performance! We saw him at his very best, especially on the stages with difficult conditions. Yes, we did see two mistakes, but a consistent performance (with only 4 stage wins) secured him the 5th win in a row at Rallye Monte-Carlo. Congratulations! However, his teammate Elfyn Evans did not perform as well, but we believe his best performances will come later in the season. That being said, a puncture already after a few kilometers probably cost him a good result. Bouffier showed that the new evolution of WRC cars takes time to get used to.
Not the best opening rally for Hyundai. Neuville lost his chance for a win already on the first stage when he went off the road on very difficult icy conditions. He got help with pushing from the audience, but lost about 4 minutes. A puncture on SS3 and a bad starting position later on probably cost him the podium. Mikkelsen retired due to technical problems after a strong start and podium position. For Sordo it was his 10th start at Rallye Monte-Carlo. But the experience didn’t help much as he slipped off the road and probably lost the podium – the first retirement for him this year. That only proves how unlucky the start was for Hyundai. Better luck next time!
Meeke said it best after the last stage: «A horrendous weekend for us. An absolute nightmare. I can’t get a feeling with the car.» For the rest of the Citroën team it was more or less the same. But in the end, a 4th place in the total isn’t too bad for Kris Meeke when you look at his Rallye Monte-Carlo statistics. Let’s not forget the power stage where Meeke pushed hard, took 5 points and the win. It shows the potential in the performance of the C3 WRC on dry tarmac. (But probably only on dry tarmac…) For Breen a very unfortunate brake failure and the following first starting position ruined every chance at top 5.
Next up is Rally Sweden. Hopefully both rally fans and Ogier will see a bit tighter competition!