|Latvala on the shakedown|
By Sunday evening we’ll have some idea of how quick the latest spec Citroens, Fords and Hyundais are compared to the world champ VW team. We’ll also have an inkling of whether Kris Meeke can win and Elfyn Evans can get on the podium during the 2015 WRC season.
Last night the 83rd Monte Carlo Rally got underway with two 21 and 20 km stages, and no-one could really be surprised at who set the pace, could they? There’s just no stopping that man. Good to see young Evans in front of Meeke but just look at the pace of Ott Tanak. Early days.
Overall Classification after Day One (2 of 15 Stages):
1. S. Loeb / D. Elena (Citroën DS3 WRC) 30:08.2
2. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +13.3
3. J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +36.1
4. O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +38.6
5. E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +47.4
6. K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +59.8
7. A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +59.9
8. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:06.8
9. M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +1:08.7
10. H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:17.6
11. M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:18.9
12. D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:24.9
If anyone is in any doubt about the popularity of rallying on the European continent, huge crowds turned out for the shakedown late on Wednesday afternoon. Photo shows Jari-Matti Latvala getting his eye in.
Grateful to VW for the following info:
... only Finns and Frenchmen have won the ‘Monte’ since 1999. Tommi Mäkinen won four times in a row between 1999 and 2002, while Sébastien Loeb was victorious from 2003 to 2005, as well as in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013. Now working as a consultant for Volkswagen Motorsport, Marcus Grönholm triumphed in 2006. Mikko Hirvonen was the last Finn to win in 2010, and Sébastien Ogier came out on top in 2009 and 2014.
... the Monte was not originally planned as a motorsport event. Its goal at the start of the 20th century was to attract tourists to the principality in the winter months.
... speed was not the be-all and end-all at the inaugural Monte? As well as the cars being timed, a jury also judged their appearance, comfort and the condition, in which the cars arrived at the finish.
... Audi triumphed only once at the Rally Monte Carlo. Walter Röhrl/Christian Geistdörfer (D/D) won in the iconic Audi quattro in 1984.
Just thought you might be interested.