Friday 23 January 2015

Rally - Monte, Day 2

Seems likes it’s business as usual for the VW squad on the 83rd Monte Carlo Rally. At close of play today, there were three Polos in first, second and third places.

Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia started Day 2 chasing Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena gradually reeling in and passing their Citroen rivals over the first five of Friday’s six stages. Then Loeb tore a rear corner off his DS3 and dropped a massive amount of time on the final special stage.

Competitors were faced with extremely variable and difficult conditions. The road surface on the three special stages, each of which was tackled twice, alternated constantly between wet asphalt, snow and ice – and banks of thick fog. Choosing from Michelin’s soft slicks, studded and winter tyres was particularly difficult.

In the morning, the three VW crews opted for a combination of four studded tyres and two winter tyres. In the afternoon, Ogier/Ingrassia headed out with four studded tyres and two slicks, while Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Fløene went for a mixture of two slicks, two studded, and two winter tyres.

At close of play, Sébastien Ogier said: “It was a tough day, I must pay a big compliment to my ice spies, who did a fantastic job. The duel with Sébastien Loeb was not only thrilling for the fans, but was also exciting for Julien and me in the cockpit. Whilst he had the advantage on one stage, I was able to make up ground on the next. In the end it proved important that I never lost my cool, even despite the gap early on. When we moved into the lead for the first time after the penultimate stage, I was able to take a deep breath. Loeb’s crash on the final stage is obviously a shame for many rally fans, as it means our duel for the lead is over.”

Jari-Matti Latvala added: “My goal at the start of the rally was to finish in the top four – and nothing has changed in that regard. I have not had any particularly good results at the ‘Monte’ in the past, and I still have a lot to learn when it comes to the weather, tyre selection and the route. As such, I am happy with my position and what I learned today.”

Andreas Mikkelsen commented: “We bet everything on safety today. I think our tyre selections in the morning and the afternoon were both good. This allowed us to implement our plan to ensure we made it through the day in one piece. That was far from easy, however, as there was thick fog on some of the stages, which meant there were times when you could not see five metres ahead of you. It is superb to come out of a day like this in third place – even if we did benefit from the misfortune of Sébastien Loeb and Kris Meeke.”

Overall Classification after Day Two (8 of 15 stages):
1. S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 1:52:07.4
2. J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:45.4
3. A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:34.8
4. O. Tanak / R. Molder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:44.4
5. M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +3:02.9
6. E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +3:15.2
7. T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +3:29.9
8. D. Sordo / M. Martí (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:03.0
9. M. Prokop / J. Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:59.6
10. H. Solberg / I. Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:38.9

17, C. Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 R5) +10:33.0
21, K. Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen DS3 WRC) +12:02.3
37, E. Boland /M. Morrissey (Subaru Impreza N) +22:13.1
38, D. Mc Kenna/A. Grennan (Citroën DS3 R3T) +22:20.5

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