Thursday 16 January 2014

Rally - Monte Day 1

Unusual look to the top ten at the end of Day 1 on the Monte Carlo Rally with provisional placings showing two Fords in the top three places split by the Citroen of Kris Meeke. Bryan Bouffier has a 39 second lead over Meeke with Robert Kubica less than a second behind.

Young Elfyn Evans is holding a sensational sixth place at present in his Fiesta, but the big guns are queuing up behind. Early days.

Apparently, the weather caught out all the top crews this morning. The gravel crews, or in this case, the  ice crews set off 90 minutes ahead of the first cars when the roads were mostly dry and rain was forecast. Then it snowed!

Volkswagen’s Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala were already on their way when it began to snow in the mountains, so later drivers running down the order had a chance to put two winter tyres in the boot at the last minute.

First casualty of the day was the Hyundai i20 WRC of Thierry Neuville who slid off the road, with Sébastien Ogier in the Polo R WRC explaining: "At one point, I steered into a crash barrier on purpose because I wouldn’t have otherwise had enough braking distance." Fortunately, the only damage to the Polo was a scratched fender.

Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20 WRC had a mechanical problem on the fourth test and it remains to be seen whether he will start tomorrow or not.

Robert Barrable is 20th overall in the Tunnocks Fiesta and 4th WRC2, and Ireland’s Eamon Boland is holding 25th place in his Subaru.

Provisional Leaderboard after 6 (of 15) stages:
1, B. Bouffier / X. Panseri, 1:25:36.6
2, K. Meeke / P. Nagle, 1:26:15.4, +38.8
3, R. Kubica / M. Szczepaniak, 1:26:16.1, +39.5
4, S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia, 1:26:23.9, +47.3
5, M. Østberg / J. Andersson, 1:26:57.3, +1:20.7
6, E. Evans / D. Barritt, 1:27:15.2, +1:38.6
7, J. Latvala / M. Anttila, 1:27:57.4, +2:20.8
8, M. Hirvonen / J. Lehtinen, 1:28:23.5, +2:46.9
9, A. Mikkelsen / M. Markkula, 1:29:42.8, +4:06.2
10, O. Burri / F. Gordon (S 2000), 1:30:24.0, +4:47.4

I'll try and bring some more news later.

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